New offer from the library – try out a ukelele

Did you ever expect to borrow a ukelele from the library?

You can now. For free.

Working with the London Ukelele Project, and starting on November 20th, Tate South Lambeth is lending ukuleles. The pack you’ll get includes a battery-operated tuner, a carrying case, and a set of songs to learn..

You can borrow this for up to three weeks.

For more information contact the library at 0207 926 0710 or

And get strumming.

The library is open again – with safety features

As from the end of October you can now visit the library freely. No appointment is required.

However you are asked to help keep the library a safe space for everyone – so  please wear a mask (if you are able), use the sanitiser available in the library and maintain social distance.

In-library events and activities are returning, with the capacity of the rooms reduced by 50%. In Tate South Lambeth’s case that means a ceiling of 40 adults and 30 children. CO2 monitors will check air quality.

Newspapers and magazine are also being re-introduced and YOU CAN BROWSE THE SHELVES.

The opening hours are unchanged, so the library will continue with the later morning opening  during weekdays ( 11am  instead of the tradiitiona  10am) introduced earlier this year. This allows for toddlers groups and school class visits to take place in a setting which prevents infection spreading.

Watch out for some of our favourite library activities to restart soon..

Come into our garden – with our new gardening team

Two young volunteers have come forward to run the gardening sessions in Retreat, the library’s courtyard garden.

Hear about them in their own words:

 We are very pleased to have been selected by the Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library to restore the garden and start running community projects. Our names are Gemma and Charlene, we both share a love of gardening and have an education background.

 So far we have focussed on clearing and cleaning up the garden to make it safe and ready to open on Saturday 7th August 2021 between 12-4pm. We are planning a meet and greet open garden event with a plant and seed swap/sale. We will be planting a plant in memory of Penny who took care of the garden previously before Covid. So please come along and see what’s growing and share your ideas. We’d love to meet you, hear your views on what you’d like and your interests for future events.

We are pleased to announce we are holding some family activities on:

 Monday 9th August 2021 between 12-2pm– Creating mini gardens

 Monday 23rd August between 12-2pm– Creating cress faces and painting stone bugs and garden markers

 Come along and meet Gemma and Charlene – the garden is an open, safe place. And we know you’ll get a warm welcome from our gardening couple.

Feminism. Interrupted: Disrupting Power

Wednesday May 12th 7pm

Join Lola Olefemi to discuss her latest book, with Yara Rodrigues Fowler.

Plastered over t-shirts and tote bags, the word “feminist” has entered the mainstream and is fast becoming a popular slogan for our generation. But feminism isn’t  a commodity up for purchase; it’s a weapon for fighting against injustice.

This revolutionary books reclaims feminism from consumerism through exploring state violence against women, reproductive justice, transmisogyny, sex work, gendered Islamophobia  and much more, showing that the struggle  for gendered liberation is a struggle for justice, one that can transform the world for everyone.

Free, book at

This is just one of many events in Lambeth’s Readers and Writers Festival . You can see the full programme at: 

A Communard in south London

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, Naomi Clifford explores the life of  Louise Michel, a prominent  figure in that episode.

Louise Michel, feminist, anarchist, poet, playwright and journalist, who survived the bloody end of the 1871 Paris Commune and subsequent exile to New Caledonia, loved London and visited several times.

Who was she? And why was she invited in 1883 to give her opinion on the Lambeth Workhouse?

This event is supported by, the online research database.

Book at -145436986943

The library is open for PC use and “select and collect”

In early March Tate South Lambeth Library – closed under the lockdown imposed in January – re-opened for essential PC use, printing and scanning.

Now the select and collect service has returned.

So you can once again select books from Lambeth Libraries collection:

online at

or by phone to the library at 0207 926 0710

or by email to

As well as specific titles, you can also choose types of books you would like to read, or books for a child with special interests. You can reserve up to 20 books.

Once your items are ready a librarian at TSL will contact you to make an appointment to pick them up.

Lockdown has closed our library – for now

On January 11th Lambeth Libraries issued the following notice:

Lambeth Libraries regret to inform you that due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in London we have taken the decision to close all Lambeth Libraries until the situation improves.

So no PC use for the public, no select and collect. However digital services and online events continue – visit

Sad news – but not unexpected.

We all look forward now to the re-opening of our much loved and much needed library.

This talk is very timely. Since the Covid-19 lockdown people living in a densely populated urban area, such as ours, have become acutely aware of the importance and value of the green breathing space that public parks provide. So the future of this park matters to us all.

The library’s open again – within limits

On July 20th, after a four-month gap, Tate South Lambeth Library – along with six other libraries in Lambeth – resumed service.

But under the constraints imposed by the need to contain and suppress the coronavirus epidemic, that service is restricted.

All entry is by appointment only, from 11am to 4pm on Monday to Saturday.

Appointments can be made by phone (020 7926 0710) or email  ( to use a computer, print, scan and photocopy

There is no browsing of the shelves , but you can reserve up to 20 books. audiobooks and DVDs , or have them selected for you by a librarian after stating your preferences. You then call or email the library to arrange  a time to  collect the items.

Items borrowed can be returned without an appointment.

The Home Library Service can deliver books to you if you are housebound and cannot get to a library.

Users of the library are required to use face masks and hand sanitiser, and to maintain physical distance.

It’s not the library we know and love – with open access, group activities, classes, talks, craft fairs, choir performances and more  But we can hope for a gradual easing back as and when the threat from the virus lessens.

Re-opening our library – what are the prospects?

Under the government’s current schedule for easing out of Covid-19 lockdown, libraries may consider re-opening from July 4th. Although Lambeth Libraries would like to slowly introduce some services later in July, this will be dependent on a number of different issues such as how well the virus is contained in the coming weeks and making sure all the necessary measures are in place.

This will require a great deal of preparation and redesign – both of the service offered and the physical layout of each library – to ensure the safety of library users and library staff while the epidemic continues.. Lambeth library managers are currently looking at what is achievable and feasible. There will be no sudden return to the pre-Covid situation . Libraries nationally are considering a click and collect offer for borrowing books and the use of computers by prior appointment only. Lambeth will probably adopt this approach. Layouts will need to be altered to meet social distancing requirements and returned books will have to be quarantined. There are many practical things to consider to open safely

Not the library we know and love. But people’s health must be paramount.

Meanwhile- even while the library is partly opening up – Lambeth Libraries will be keeping up its extensive online programme of events and services.. Here’s the list for June:

The Chairman’s and Treasurer’s reports for 2019/20

The Chairman’s report for 2019/20

Covid-19 closes the library’s doors…

All ten of Lambeth’s libraries were shut down on 21st March 2020 in line with government recommendations on social distancing to counter the spread of COVID-19 and, specifically, because of the clear danger to both the general public and library staff from the maintenance of the onsite service.

At the time of writing this annual report there was no immediate prospect of a resumption of all core services to the general public. The Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library look forward to our much loved and valued local library re-opening its doors once the epidemic has abated to safe levels to continue to serve the multiple needs of our diverse community.

… after a year of consolidation

Prior to the shutdown Tate South Lambeth Library had been showing further progress in developing its programmes of activities and facilities.

That progress included:

  • New flooring for the children’s section (replacing the worn-out carpet there)
  • A Portuguese-language reading machine for people with impaired vision or dyslexia
  • New shelving in the first reading room

New activities supported by volunteers included monthly Portuguese conversation classes for beginners, and baby-and-toddler sessions for Japanese-speaking parents and children.

What Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library have done in the past year

In the past twelve months Friends have put on talks and events at the library, covering a wide range of topics, many of them of particular relevance to the local area and the local community.

Here’s the list:

20th May 2019 Family Business: A Memoir by Peter Conradi – the authorised biographer of Iris Murdoch and prolific writer and broadcaster talked about his autobiography.

15th June The Friends annual sale of books donated by local people, with all proceeds going to the library.

2nd September Samuel Johnson and the Lambeth Mysteries – Ross Davies from traced Samuel Johnson’s connections with Lambeth. The talk was preceded by a guided walk led by David E. Coke through the site of Vauxhall Gardens.

2nd October The Age of Stupid – A screening of the famous documentary in partnership with the No Planet B Film Club.

23rd October Vauxhall Tide: Conversations and Creativity Local residents presented and talked about the banner they had created reflecting their lives and histories (The banner remains on display at the library).

13th November Mixed-Race Relationships: A Personal Account– the author Sylvia Vetta explored the dilemmas of identity in mixed-race relationships.

15th November Wall-E – a screening of the Disney Pixar film, in partnership with the No Planet B Film Club.

26th November SW8: The Movie – local resident Andrew Rogers presented a look at our neighbourhood through the lens of cinema and television.

30th November Christmas Craft Market – an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and decorations produced by local people. Proceeds of the stall rentals went to the library.

7th December Christmas Carol Concert by the Kennington Community Choir.

22nd January 2020 Kimpa Vita – a documentary recounting the previously untold story of the “Mother of the African Revolution, presented by its producer Ne Kunda Nlaba.

15th February 2020 Friends LGBT Fair – a day of arts, crafts, books, zines plus a rainbow cup cake competition and drag queen story time.

End February onwards I am London – an exhibition of watercolours of London scenes by Anthony Mark Peters.

Friends have maintained their contribution to the library’s resources. Donations from members and the proceeds from book sales and our craft fair have paid for the film screening licence for the Movie Matinees held on Tuesdays in autumn and winter, a rug for the children’s area, a large, mobile, television screen, and food and refreshments for children’s parties.

We have added to the stock of magazines – as an organisation through a subscription to The Week and as individuals donating copies of The Economist, New Statesman, Spectator, London Review of Books and Private Eye (among others).

The gardening group has held Open Garden sessions in Tradescant’s Retreat (the courtyard garden at the rear of the library) on the second Saturday of each month during the summer period. People could sit down (sheltered by a gazebo), read, meet the volunteers who tend the garden and share seeds.

Meanwhile, in the hope of influencing the shape and direction of overall library policy and specifically how it affects our library, two members of the committee of Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library have joined delegates from other friends groups at Lambeth libraries in regular meetings with Council officers, the head of the library service and the cabinet member with the libraries portfolio.

In addition Friends have participated in the public library forum, where library managers report on their programmes and activities and local people present questions, challenges and proposals. Friends publicise these events in our newsletter and on our website and report the main conclusions. However, the last 12 months have seen only such forum – in June 2019 – as that scheduled for March 2020 fell victim to the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic.

We say thanks

This is our chance to thank:

  • The staff of Tate South Lambeth Library for making this library a uniquely warm and welcoming place, serving all our diverse local community. We continued to cooperate happily with staff in events and activities put on by the library and also by Friends.
  • All local donors – individuals and organisations -who provided funds, books, magazines, plants, tools, wool, and food for children’s activities.
  • All our speakers, craftspeople and artists.
  • All the local community groups, bloggers, tenants and residents associations. .and local media who help promote our activities.
  • All those individuals who have topped up their annual subscriptions.
  • And, last but not least, all the Friends who have contributed time, ideas and stamina to maintain our programme.

A final reminder

We are always eager to bring new members onto our committee, even in a limited role. Most members of the committee have now been in post for many years, so we’d welcome new people to shake us up. If you are interested, please contact

The Treasurer’s financial statement for 2019/20

Here is the payments and receipts account for the period 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2020.

Income Expenses
Opening Balance as at 1/4/19 2,166.18  
Membership fees & donations 217.94 Running costs – p/c  26.99
Other donations: Web and ICT Maintenance and Updates  119.98
Stockwell Festival Stall hire  25.00
Knitting group 25.00 Children’s Library Carpet  196.19
Summer Reading Challenge  56.53
Refreshments for events  197.48
Film screen licence and microphone cables  56.86
Book sales + raffles 271.95 The Week magazine subscription  129.50
LGBT fair- stall rental+donations 174.16 Plants for Jana Hale remembrance  30.45
Market-stall rental + raffle 177.33 Public liability insurance  127.30
total 866.38 total 1,066.28
Closing bank balance as at 31 March 2020 1,966.28


  1. Paypal membership fees for 2019/20 – £509.32 transferred on 28/4/20
  2. Delayed payments – technical difficulties – £168.63 transferred on 6/5/20
  3. With adjustments for items 1 and 2, the bank account stands at £2,644.23.



Help for the housebound, isolated – or bored- after the closure of Lambeth’s libraries

As of the time of writing (March 21st) all Lambeth’s ten libraries are closed. This is in line with government recommendations on social distancing to counter the spread of  COVID-19 and answers concern at the clear danger to both the general public and library staff from the maintenance of the onsite service.

Our precious libraries are just one of the many casualties of the current coronavirus epidemic, whose impact continues to rise. So there is little prospect of an early resumption of core services to the general public. The numerous events and activities at the library (listed in the side panel), suspended  earlier in the week, will remain dormant.

But we have not been cut off from some valuable resources that Lambeth libraries offer their members.

If you’re a member of the library- stuck at home, self isolating or just trying to maintain social distance -Lambeth library service offers you  a wide variety of online resources that you can access in your home.

For details of the full list, go to 

All you need is the number on your library membership card.

Happy browsing.


Meet the artist- an invitation

Tate Local – the gallery space at Tate South Lambeth library – is currently showing  watercolours of London scenes by Antony Mark Peters.

 Would you like to meet and chat with the artist?

 Come along to a private view at the library on Monday March 23rd from 7pm to 8.30pm.


Do you want to publish your own book?


In September’s Lambeth Heritage Festival Naomi Clifford, the history author and long-time contributor to Friends OF TSL talks, will share her experience in self-publishing, covering research, preparation of the manuscript, print platforms, crowd funding, ebooks, marketing and sales,

This is your opportunity to get yourself into print.

The online talk is on Wednesday September 15th at 7pm. Free, Book here.

This is just one of the 50 events in this year’s Lambeth Heritage Festival. To see the full programme go to