Lambeth Council has published a set of proposals for cultural services to the year 2020. The services covered are: libraries and archives; the Black Cultural Archives; parks and open spaces; sports and physical activity; and arts. The proposals target a reduction in spending on these areas of nearly £4million (around one third) from the current level (in 2014/15 ) by 2020.
The proposals for the library service (which is required to make a saving of one fifth – £800,000) include:
- The closure of Waterloo Library and MInet Library and the sale of the buildings
- The transfer of Carnegie, Durning and Upper Norwood libraries to independent charitable or community trusts, with the withdrawal of Council funding. These libraries will then be able to bid for money from an endowment fund that will be set up using the proceeds from the sale of Waterloo and Minet libraries and other Council assets.
- Tate South Lambeth Library – the only other small (“neighbourhood”) library – will continue under Council management and funding, acting as the “town centre” library for the north of the borough, until 2020, when the situation will be reviewed.
On the surface this looks like a good result for TSL. Our library is not under immediate threat of closure or withdrawal of Council funding – even if the reprieve could be short.
But the committee of Friends of TSL is deeply concerned at the direction of library policy in Lambeth, as well as the details of implementation. Those concerns are expressed in the statement below issued by the Friends of Lambeth Libraries, the umbrella group for all library friends groups in Lambeth.