In 2011 Lambeth Council set up a Project Group for the library building, which subsequently turned itself into a Shadow Trust Board and eventually the Carnegie Community Trust. The Council is intent on transferring the ground floor of the building and the first floor room to the Trust by way of a long rent-free lease.
The ostensible purpose of setting up the Trust and its predecessors was to replace Council funding with grants from outside bodies. However, none of those bodies will provide funds for a public library. They take the view that funding libraries is the responsibility of local government. The Trust have been telling local people that there will still be a proper library but telling grant-making bodies that there will not be a proper library!
The Friends' committee were concerned to hear that the Trust has succeeded in obtaining a small grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. We therefore obtained from the Fund a copy of the application. It is seriously misleading about:
- The extent to which the building is and can be expected to remain a public library. The library use is and always has been the main use. The current indications from Lambeth Council are that they will require this to continue for the foreseeable future.
- Past and future activities in the building.
- Supposed community and other support for the Trust.
We have therefore written to the Fund pointing out inaccuracies in the application. Herewith are copies of our letter and a plan and email correspondence sent with it.