Some recipients of a four-page orange-coloured leaflet recently thought it came from Friends of Carnegie Library. It was NOT from the Friends, nor from any other supporters of our library. Our bulletins always carry our name and logo as above. The orange colour and strap line “The Next Chapter” are used by Carnegie Community Trust and its predecessors with links to Lambeth Council. Below we summarise who is who in relation to the library.
Carnegie Library Users Consultative Group comprises Friends of Carnegie Library and eight other groups who used the library.
We want reinstatement of our library as it was, including:
• Opening for at least 36 hours a week.
• Welcoming and knowledgeable library staff.
• The spaces we had, which accommodated adult and children's libraries and numerous group activities compatible with the library.
• The minimum number of books to offer a reasonable choice for all ages and tastes, that is, about 20,000.
Almost any reduction in hours, staff, space or book stock could be expected to reduce greatly the use of the library.
Carnegie Library Herne Hill Association is a democratically accountable Charitable Incorporated Organisation formed by the Users Consultative Group to take a transfer of the library from Lambeth Council. If you are in the Friends or another member of the Group you will shortly receive an invitation to apply for membership of the Association. If you are not in one of these groups please consider joining the Association anyway. In the first instance, please email [email protected] or write to the Association at 18 Herne Hill, London SE24 9QT stating your full name and address. Membership will be free until the first AGM in March 2017.
Lambeth Council first tried to close the library and sell it for redevelopment as flats in 1999. The Friends then formed to revitalise and promote the library, and led a successful campaign against closure.
Greenwich Leisure Limited operates most of the Council's Leisure Centres. Lambeth plan to grant them a rent-free lease of the library and then spend millions of pounds on structural alterations to the building and massively subsidising GLL's use of it until the 2018/19 financial year. The use would be:
• A gym in the basement.
• Exercise classes on the ground floor.
• Hiring spaces on the ground floor to local groups.
• A small selection of books and some computers somewhere on the ground floor. N.B. Lambeth call these books and computers a Neighbourhood Library. There would not be a room set aside for library use.
Under this plan the ground floor would be left unstaffed much of the time, which would preclude use by unaccompanied children, and few other vulnerable people would want to use such an apparently unsafe space.
Carnegie Community Trust consists of five individuals close to the politicians who control Lambeth Council. They originally came up with the idea of excavating the basement for a gym and their plans appear to be much the same as GLL's though they suggest that a room could be set aside for library use provided it is locked and inaccessible except when library staff are present. Lambeth are offering to provide library staff for up to 12 hours a week.
A detailed comparison of Carnegie Community Trust with Carnegie Library Association is