Did you miss the organic gardening workshop at the library on Wednesday 28 March 2012? If so, don’t worry. All is not lost. Attached are notes from the talk and some useful documents to help you develop greener fingers:
Biographer of the Tradescants Jennifer Potter is to give a talk at the Tate South Lambeth Library on Wednesday 18th April 2012 at 7.30pm.
The author of Strange Blooms, The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants will present In his father’s footsteps: the life and times of John Tradescant the Younger, gardener to King Charles I, exploring the son’s achievements as royal gardener, plant collector and guardian of the Tradescant cabinet of curiosities at South Lambeth, which in effect became Britain’s first public museum.
22nd April 2012 will mark the 350th anniversary of the death of John Tradescant the Younger which saw the end of the brief but extraordinary gardening dynasty that introduced and popularised so many of today’s favourite plants. Tradescant Road and Walberswick Street now stand on the site of the Tradescants’ gardens in South Lambeth so the Tradescant Area Residents Association has teamed up with the Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library to mark the anniversary by organising this free event.
Drawing on her acclaimed double biography Ms Potter will take a sympathetic look at the difficulties the younger man experienced in following in the footsteps of his much loved and much respected father, and end by reading extracts from Advice to a Son, her fictionalised letter from the dying John Tradescant the Elder. Had the son followed his father’s advice, Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum might today be celebrated as the Tradescantian Museum,
and the younger Tradescant might have ended his days a wiser and a happier man.
There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
In his father’s footsteps: the life and times of John Tradescant the Younger, gardener to King Charles I
A talk by Jennifer Potter
Date: Wednesday 18th April 2012
Time: 7.30pm – 9pm (doors open 7pm)
Venue: Tate South Lambeth Library, 180 South Lambeth Road London SW8 1QP
About Jennifer Potter
Jennifer Potter has to date published three novels (set variously in Martinique, the Yemen in 1911, and France) and four works of non-fiction: Secret Gardens; Lost Gardens, written to accompany the Channel 4 television series on which she worked as associate producer and series producer; her double biography of the John Tradescants, Strange Blooms, The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants, long-listed for the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize; and most recently The Rose, A True History, heralded by Gardens Illustrated as ‘a remarkable and gripping work of scholarship’ and by the Daily Telegraph as ‘the finest disquisition on the early history and symbolism of the rose’.
Two new works will appear next year: a fourth novel, The Angel Cantata; and Flower Power, her study of seven flowers that have exerted power or influence over human societies. An Honorary Teaching Fellow on the University of Warwick’s Writing Programme, Potter reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and inSeptember returns to King’s College London as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
Strange Blooms, The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants is available in paperback, published by Atlantic Books, recommended price £9.99, ISBN 978-1-84354-335-0.
Local people share internet, mobile phone, camera and computer skills like searching the internet, using email, online shopping, creating websites, sending photos, making free calls with Skype, setting up a blog, using Facebook and Twitter, managing money with Excel, adding soundtracks to your videos, trying out iPhone, iPad, Kindle e-reader etc.
Great for beginners, and also for those with lots of experience who want to explore new programmes or try the latest gadgets.
If you live or work in Vauxhall or Stockwell, just drop in.
Come and learn the basics and sow some seeds with Christine, Garden Organic’s local master gardener, and Sue, Lambeth’s Green Community Champions Officer
on Wednesday 28 March 2012 at 7.00pm at Tate South Lambeth library, 180 South Lambeth Road, SW8
Lambeth Council has published a report – Cooperative Libraries – which sets out its proposals for a library service that is “co-produced” by the council and the general public. It is seeking your feedback – via a questionnaire which you can pick up at the library or fill in online.
The report is lengthy (28 pages) and, at points, very detailed. To help dialogue and debate Edith Holtham, chairman of Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library, has produced the summary below.
There are many questions raised by the report. But there is one overriding one that is not addressed:
is co-production a condition for the maintenance of library service beyond the three major libraries (Brixton, Streatham and Clapham)?
In other words, will the six smaller libraries in Lambeth only survive if some community-based organisation takes them on? And what happens if this organisation fails – which it might well do since the Council’s funding commitment does not stretch beyond March 2014?
Summary of the Cooperative Libraries report The “co-production” idea
The underlying concept of the report is of co-production – defined as “delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services and the wider community”.
Co-production in the library service would work as follows.
Each library will have a local budget.
“Citizens and communities” will decide how much influence they want over how this money is spent and how much day-to-day involvement they want with the library service.
The Council will act as commissioner and “contract” with communities for the delivery of a library service.
Co-production will be introduced initially in six out of Lambeth’s nine libraries – ie all the smaller ones.
Brixton, Streatham and Clapham will remain under direct Council management “in the short term”.
The report recognises that co-production “requires local people to give up their time to support their local community”. It proposes to offer a menu of financial and non-financial incentives (such as training and adult education classes) to encourage participation. No proposals are forthcoming on mechanisms – how “citizens and communities” will decide their level of involvement, what are the community organisations that will be involved and how their democratic legitimacy will be ensured.
The report is unclear as to the exact extent of volunteer involvement in day-to-day library operations. It merely suggests that co-produced libraries “consider supplementing staffing with volunteers to add value to library service provision and potentially increase opening hours”
The money the Council will put up
The big issue is how much money the Council will provide to co-produced libraries.
The report gives figures for the allocation of funds to individual libraries in the next three financial years (April-March). The total for the nine libraries is to fall from £3,057,000 in 2011/12 to £2,056,000 in 2012/13 and £1,656,000 in 2013/14. (The total cost of the library service is much higher. Including borough-wide costs it is forecast at £4,487,000 in 2011/12 – and this figure does not include the “corporate recharge” – the contribution to Lambeth Council’s central services which in recent years has run at around one third.) The budget for individual libraries is consequently due to fall by 46% – ie almost one half – between 2011/12 and 2013/14.
The report sets out allocations for each library in 2012/13 and 2013/14 on four different measures of population and need in groupings of wards for each library. This produces four sets of figures for each library, each year.
In the case of Tate South Lambeth Library the allocation is to fall from £231,000 in 2011/12 to an average of £161,500 in 2012/13 and an average of £130,000 in 2013/14 – a fall of 44% in the space of two years. This is about the mid-range of the cuts in funding: Minet and Carnegie are the hardest-hit, with falls of 60% and 58% respectively, while Durning faces a cut of 33% (one third).
The most significant features of these figures are:
co-produced libraries will have very much less money to spend
there is no provision for major renovation or capital works
there is no funding commitment beyond 2013/14.
The division of responsibilities
Within the much tighter financial package the budget figures represent, the report affirms that the “standard library service must consist of a baseline offer encompassing the full range of library services and products”. The “intention” is that the contract for each library will incorporate this aim. Within this context the report sets out the roles and obligations of the Council and what it terms cooperative (co-produced) libraries.
The Council will be responsible for a number of central functions, such as setting the direction and outcomes for the overall library service, ensuring that statutory obligations are fulfilled, providing HR, payroll, legal and IT support (including the maintenance of WiFi).
A cooperative library will have a range of tasks that are essentially day-to-day management – of staff, volunteers. It will be responsible for – among others – building maintenance, insurance, and rates. It is envisaged that the range of services devolved from the Council will increase as cooperative libraries become sustainable.