From 4 June 2015, the library will be open on Thursday afternoons from 1.00 – 6.00pm in addition to its normal opening hours. This will allow for greater use, and in particular, give students revising for exams an additional facility for homework, research, computer use and free Wi-Fi.
This is welcome news because for years, Friends of Carnegie Library have been calling for longer opening times following the reduction from 34 to 16 hours a week from 1997 and the partial restoration to 31 from 2003.
With all the events and activities now on offer, and the friendly, welcoming library staff, statistics for membership, visits and loans have been growing by leaps and bounds. Add the recent refurbishment and attractive new furniture, plus a growing demand for yet more activities and it was clear an increase in opening hours was needed.
This extension of our public library hours to 36 a week comes at no extra cost to Lambeth, as it is covered by normal staff salaries. The extra five hours should boost the service and encourage even more visits.
Despite this good news, the entire service at the Carnegie is under threat. The results of the Culture 2020 consultation responses and Lambeth’s reaction are expected to be published within the next two months.
If the council decided to press ahead with its proposals to close two libraries and withdraw all funding from three others, including Carnegie, we would lose our professional library staff. It would then be impossible to provide anything like the current level of service, either in terms of opening hours, number and range of books, other material, events and activities; and the library as we know it would close.
To help prevent this, please lobby your councillors and if not already a member, join the Friends and the library.