Friends of TSL held their annual general meeting, at the library, on May 18th 2016.
The chairman’s annual report highlighted the battle to save the library from Lambeth Council’s plan to convert it into a “healthy living centre” – a fee-paying gym with a small, undefined area dedicated to a few bookshelves, a few computers and with no on-site staff. The library was due to be shut at the end of March. However a consultation on this proposal showed a massive majority (95% in the returns at TSL, and 80% overall) opposing the plan. Taking other – undefined- factors into account Lambeth Council abandoned its proposal. TSL, along with Durning library in Kennington, is now to be the interim “town centre” for the north of the borough, pending the establishment of a new single library (scheduled for 2022).
Members at the meeting expressed their relief at this outcome, but also their continuing concern about the council’s intentions for our ;library – both the current one (no-one favoured the limitation of library service to a single library located some distance away from the much better placed TSL) and any other “surprise” fate before 2022. The meeting agreed that we must be eternally vigilant.
The chairman outlined Friends’ activities in the past year, with sixteen talks and events, exhibitions in the art gallery area, and contributions to the library’s resources, including a console and games for the teen programme, four gazebos for the planned library market and a laptop bar (jointly with Vauxhall CIC).
Library management and staff were thanked for their energy, initiative, hard work and friendliness.
The treasurer’s report showed a rundown in our bank balance last year, by around £2,300 to £1,297. This reflected outgoings on the campaign to save the library, the carryover of spending on Portuguese women’s workshops and the neighbourhood map, and two major purchases for the library ( gazebos for the community market and games for the teen club).
Below-the-line figures include a mutual trust/campaign kitty that was created after people signed up to the staff/community trust proposed by the head of library service. These funds – amounting to £257 – are kept in trust by Friends. Despite Lambeth Council’s rejection of the staff/community trust proposal, the meeting agreed that Friends of TSL should retain this special fund while the future of the library service in Lambeth (now under review by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports) is unclear.
(Both reports can be read on our website www.tatesouthlambethfriends.org)
In voting for the committee for 2016/17 the following were elected:
Chairman Edith Holtham
Vice-chairman Laura Swaffield
Secretary Philip Inglesant
Treasurer John McCay
Membership secretary Helen Holmes
Portuguese Outreach Officer Patricia Marcelino
Other members Jana Hale and Ben Rymer
All of these were re-elections. The chairman stressed that we are very keen to bring new members on to the committee – either taking over existing posts or bringing in new responsibilities.