It’s book sale time

On Saturday June 15th – from 10am to 4pm-  Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library will be running our annual book sale at the library.

Over 500 books donated by local people, supplemented by withdrawn library books, will be on sale, with all the proceeds used to buy equipment and materials to support the library’s services.

Friends’ book sales (of which this is the ninth so far) have been very successful, raising well over £1,000 for our library.

So we invite you to help us by:

  • donating books in good condition (drop them off at the library desk, by 4pm on Friday June 14th , in a bag or box labelled Friends book sale). The library will select suitable ones to go on the shelves, the rest will be put on sale
  • buying lots of books –all at bargain prices, with £1 (or three for £2) for  paperbacks ,  £3-5 for hardbacks ( with £8-10 for high-value specials) and 40p for children’s books ( or three for £1).

This year, weather allowing, we’ll put a stall outside the library, to catch passing traffic. The stall will include the updated and expanded version of The Oval Cookbook – a collection of recipes from people from 31 countries, who live or work in Oval, and the contributors’ personal stories. The proceeds of the book’s sale will go the Triangle Adventure Playground in Oval.


Our annual general meeting shows measured optimism

At the 2019 annual general meeting, held  on May 22nd, the chairman – Edith Holtham – reported that the short- and medium- term outlook for Tate South Lambeth Library looked more positive than it did 12 months earlier.

Funding for our library, which had been covered by special allocations whose maintenance was not certain, has been re-incorporated  into the overall Lambeth libraries budget.  At the same time Lambeth Council is no longer actively discussing the replacement of our library by a single “town centre library” for the north of the borough. These developments are seen as maintaining the status of Tate South Lambeth as  a full-service library, at least for the short and medium term, as against the demotion to a one-room, largely unstaffed “neighbourhood library”, that was threatened in 2016.

The past year has seen  a new strand in Friends’ campaign against such demotion, with a week-long monitoring by volunteers of how many people enter the library and their interaction with staff. This confirmed the vital importance of the  constant presence of professional library staff.





A tip about a local event – from which Friends of TSL, and so the library, will benefit

The Heyday of Vauxhall Gardens

David Coke, co-author with Alan Borg of Vauxhall Gardens: A History, will lead a history walk through Vauxhall  on Monday May 20th.

This guided walk is organised by the Vauxhall Society/Vauxhallhistory.

Meet outside Starbucks, Vauxhall Station SW8 1SP at 2.30pm sharp, for  a walk that will last approximately one hour.

All are welcome but the organisers suggest a contribution of £5 to go to the Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library.  Thanks!



Member or not, come along to our Annual General Meeting

Friends’ annual general meeting will be held at the library on Wednesday May 22nd, starting at 6.30pm.

After the regular stuff  (reports from the chairman and the treasurer, the election of the committee for 2019/2020)  the meeting will discuss the outlook for Tate South Lambeth Library now that the prospect of it being replaced by a new, “town centre” library for the north of  the borough seems to be off the immediate agenda..

If you would like to propose other items for the agenda, please do so now –email or leave a note addressed to Friends of TSL at the library desk. Also please contact us if you’d like to stand for the committee. We are keen to have new members.


Family Business: A Memoir by Peter Conradi

Monday May 20th, 7pm (doors open at 6.30)

As part of  Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival Tate South Lambeth Library will be hosting  a talk by the author Peter Conradi on his new book – a memoir of an eventful life, both literary and personal.

About the author:

Peter Conradi was the authorised biographer of Iris Murdoch ( 2019 marks the centenary of her birth) and his memoir contains new material on her. His other published works include Going Buddhist (2004), At the Bright Hem of God (2009), and A Very English Hero : the Making of Frank Thompson (2012). He has also written or reviewed for the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, Financial Times, Spectator, Independent and Guardian, and appeared on programmes on Radio 3 and 4, and  BBC TV.


Great news about Tate South Lambeth library

Here’s some very good news about funding for Tate South Lambeth, in the words of the head of the libraries service, Susanna Barnes:

Lambeth has fully restored the funding for Tate South Lambeth and Durning Libraries and they are now provided for as part of the library and archive service budget. The Council recognises the huge contribution that libraries have made in delivering a range of services to the local community and the overall improvement of the service in the last few years and is keen to protect the service from further savings.

 Why is this good news?

Because it ends an uncertainty that had been hanging over Tate South Lambeth library for the past three years while it was being funded not from the overall libraries budget but through a separate, special allocation of money. So each year it was unclear whether that money would continue or the full public library service at TSL be allowed to fade away.

Now TSL is back within the budget for Lambeth Libraries – which Susanna’s words show have received  a vote of confidence from the Council.

Friends of TSL want to thank Susanna Barnes for running a library service that fully deserves recognition – and also Councillor Sonia Winifred (formerly  library manager at TSL and Durning) who as holder of the libraries portfolio has been a staunch supporter of the service at a difficult period for Council finances..

You can find out more from Susanna Barnes  at the next library  public forum, at Tate South Lambeth on Saturday March 2nd.

So come along on Saturday March 2nd  2-4pm.  Everyone is welcome – to ask questions and make their views known.

Art for All – British socially committed art from the 1930s to the Cold War

Wednesday December 5th 7pm

Christine Lindey, a renowned art historian, talks about her latest book, Art for All.

The book reveals a forgotten or marginalised area -British socially committed art from the 1930s through to the Cold War. With over 100 illustrations, she demonstrates why the artists deserve to be rediscovered. This extensively researched book provides a vivid understanding of the political and aesthetic contexts that turned a wide variety of individuals into socially committed artists. It also examines the artist’s circumstances of production and patronage and explains why these often handicapped those artists who were swimming against the current of their times.

At the current time, when young artists are joining the popular demand for social change, this book takes on a new relevance.

Copies of the book will be available at the talk.

Entry free. Refreshments available.

The library’s public forum is back – after a nine-month break

The library public forums at Tate South Lambeth Library are an opportunity for the general public  to hear from management what’s happening at the library and what’s planned. And to present  suggestions, complaints – or even praise.

The forums have in the past taken place at three-monthly intervals. But none has been held since February this year.  The gap is down to a combination of events – the “purdah” on policy statements in the run-up to the Council elections in May, the departure of the library manager in July, and the delay in appointing a new manager.

Although the latter problem is not yet sorted out, the public forum at TSL is due to  resume in November, with Susanna Barnes, the head of the library service, and Colette Townend, the TSL librarian.

The place is Tate South Lambeth Library.

The date is Saturday November 17th .

The time is 2-4pm.

The invitation is to everyone.


Seeing Better Now: the personal story behind a book of poetry

Wednesday November 7th,  7pm (doors open at 6.30pm)

Michael Roc Thomas, the son of Anthony Steel and Patricia Roc, two of Britain’s biggest film stars of the 1940s and 1950s, tells the story of how the birth of a child with a severe visual  impairment changed his life.

A former fashion photographer based in Cape Town, London and Madrid, he had moved to an idyllic location in Sri Lanka in 2000. He was present during  a turbulent period, with the south Asian tsunami of 2004 and the ongoing civil war. It was in  Sri Lanka that his daughter Steele was born in 2006, extremely premature and suffering from retinopathy of prematurity, a condition which usually results in total blindness (think of Stevie Wonder).

The concern that Steele might never see led Michael to start writing silly songs and nursery rhymes to entertain and stimulate his daughter. Over the years Michael’s writing skills progressed, culminating in  Seeing Better Now, a collection of 56 illustrated tales told in verse.

Michael will recount his story, read from his poetry and answer questions.

Copies of the book will be available at the talk. The proceeds are going to a Sri Lankan charity NEST that cares for children with severe disabilities across the island, where public funding is minimal or non-existent.

Entry free. Refreshments available.