All posts by Nicholas Edwards

Latest updates on the Carnegie

In brief:

  • Lambeth have signed a contract for £1.25 million to excavate the basement for a gym: Forcia contract.

    This is only the first stage of the work, the next depends on financing from GLL, which has not yet been agreed. The total cost is estimated at £3 million. The first stage is estimated to take 7 months.

    Lambeth have stated that no rent will be paid by the gym to support the library until 2023: letter from Lambeth, 31st March 2017.

  • Lambeth propose to transfer the Carnegie to the 'Carnegie Community Trust' (CCT), a small group of self-appointed individuals without widespread community support. The CCT also has plans for major redevelopment work, of up to £5 million (but how this will be paid for is unknown): asset transfer assessment.

    Lambeth rejected the bid for the asset transfer by the Carnegie Library Association (CLA), formed by the Friends of Carnegie Library and the library user groups, with elected trustees, and which is accountable to over 300 members.

    Lambeth confirm in the asset transfer document that the Carnegie will become a "neighbourhood library service, ... staffed for approximately two hours per day ... consist of self-service facilities providing residents with access to a limited supply of books available for lending and drop off."

We are circulating more detail on all of this in our current bulletin.

There is a public meeting with DefendThe10 at St Saviour's church, Herne Hill Road,
6.30 for 7pm, Thurs August 17, in advance of the start of work on 1st September,
to give residents adequate time to discuss and agree on
what concerns them and
what THEY want.

Minutes from the most recent community liaison group meeting with Lambeth are
here

The Friends of Carnegie Library will fight on. We will be intensifying the campaign to get the library back for local people, including for the community groups who used it before Lambeth closed the library in March last year. If you aren’t already a member, please join us via the website or by post.

£6000 awarded for IT education project in libraries

Amidst the gloom & doom about Lambeth's mad actions (spending £1.25 million digging out the basement for a gym, awarding the library to a group that has no community basis, etc) we've received the good news that the Carnegie UK Trust project (run in 2016-17 by the Friends together with Lambeth library services) to provide IT courses in Lambeth libraries will be continued for another year with Widening Participation funding. This will provide funds for 4 courses for local disadvantaged young people. At least one, we hope, will be in the Carnegie.

Residents object to Lambeth’s library plans

A 'Community Liaison' meeting on 20th July between Herne Hill Councillors, Helen Hayes MP and residents living near the Carnegie Library gave local people their first opportunity in a public meeting to express opposition to the library redevelopment as a gym with 'neighbourhood library'. Residents had not been consulted on these plans except via the planning application - where 300 objections were recorded.

Councillor Dickson repeated the assertion that the redevelopment would save money in the long term - although no income from the gym will go to the library until 2023, and its viability has never been justified. After long delays, the development schedule is now being pressed at full speed, with basement excavation + building work from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, 8am to 1pm on Saturdays -- for 7 months.

Minutes of the August CLG are here.

Planning decision published

The planning decision for the Carnegie redevelopment has now been published (3 months after the planning meeting).
The notice is here. There is confusion over the space allocated to the library, which is not defined in the plans. We are arguing for the central space to be retained for library use.

Local residents have formed a group to monitor the development and raise any problems it causes with the council. The group can be contacted via the Friends at foclchair@gmail.com.

Question the candidates

Hustings for the Dulwich & West Norwood constituency will be held on Wednesday 31st May, 7pm at Elmgreen School, Tulse Hill. The current MP, Helen Hayes, and other candidates will be there - this is a good opportunity to question them on what actions they have taken to support libraries (Upper Norwood, West Norwood and the Carnegie are in the constituency)!

Hundreds attend April 1st demonstration

Over 200 residents and library campaigners attended the April 1st event to mark 1 year since the Carnegie was closed, and to call for its re-opening, along with the Minet, as a public library. Speakers included Stella Duffy, Rachel Heywood, Toby Litt, Jeremy Hardy, Laura Swaffield, and Friends chair Jeff Doorn.

A video showing our human chain around the library (well, around the parts that can be reached) is here.

AGM VOWS TO FIGHT ON. FIRST EVENT SATURDAY 1 APRIL

We began our 19th year with an AGM which, despite being off-site, was very well attended. Over 80 people filled St Saviour’s including 79 Friends and 40 members of Carnegie Library Association, whose AGM followed on.

The Chair’s report outlined the events and activities staged during the past year to keep the spirit of the library alive following the closure and subsequent 10 day Occupation. Consistent campaigning to reopen the library and support for the displaced clubs and groups continues, though Lambeth councillors and officers have been distant and largely uncommunicative.

The library is now being cleared of all books, shelves and furniture, including items belonging to the Friends. While sorting these, we have seen the dreadful damage caused by water ingress, which has not been repaired since last summer and which could have been prevented had the gutters been cleared in spring. Images of the damage are
here:

The first anniversary of closure, 1 April will be marked by a gathering on the library steps at 1.00pm to celebrate the library at the heart of our community and all that we miss and aim to reinstate. Expect music, rousing speeches, colourful costumes and fun. Come and take part, then surround the building as a symbolic gesture of protection and love.

That event will begin a year of action, led by our newly elected committee, to show we are not giving up and not going away.

LITERARY & OTHER ANNIVERSARIES

With the library closed, we are unable to browse reference material or borrow books about people or events commemorated this year. For the record, here are some examples:

Significant historical events include the Russian Revolution (1917). Among births to note are Italian painter Giotto (1267), Dutch Humanist Erasmus (1467), Jonathan Swift (1667), David Garrick and Horace Walpole (1717), Henry David Thoreau (1817), novelists Arnold Bennett and John Galsworthy (1867). Also born in 1867 were dramatist Luigi Pirandello, children’s book illustrator Arthur Rackman and sports coach & Herne Hill resident Sam Mussabini. Births in 1917 include Anthony Burgess, Arthur C Clarke, Eric Hobsbawm, Carson McCullers and John F Kennedy.

Jane Austen died in 1817, as did opera singer & Herne Hill resident Anna Storace. Poet Charles Baudelaire died 1867; actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and WW1 poets Edward Thomas and Arthur West died in 1917. Notable deaths in 1967 include author and editor J R Ackerley, who was born in Herne Hill, playwrights Joe Orton and Elmer Rice, poets John Masefield, Dorothy Parker, Carl Sandburg and Harlem Renaissance poet and dramatist Langston Hughes.

Annual General Meeting, 16th March 7pm, St Saviour’s Church Hall

The Friends are holding their AGM at St. Saviour's Church Hall, Herne Hill rd., on Thursday 16th March. The meeting starts at 6.30pm. Committee member elections and reports on the year will be followed by discussion on the way forward to restore the Carnegie library to full operation for the community - taking into account that GLL's planning application to develop a gym at the Carnegie has now been approved by Lambeth Council.

After the Friends AGM, there will also be the first AGM of the Carnegie Library Association (carnegielibraryassociation.org.uk), the charitable trust supported by the Friends and Carnegie user groups to manage the library building.

Carnegie Library Association joins in objecting to the applications for Planning permission and Listed Building consent

Carnegie Library Association has endorsed the detailed objections made by Friends of Carnegie Library and Herne Hill Society to the proposals and added a few more.

Additionally, in an attempt to be as constructive as possible, the Association's trustees have indicated requirements which, if satisfied, might render the presence of a gym tolerable. These are:
• The ground and first floors would not be affected by the gym or disturbance from it.
• There would not be any intrusion into the Reading and Wildlife Garden and there would be continued access to the garden for wheelchair users.
• The gym would make a worthwhile contribution to the running costs of the building and the Association would be compensated for loss of revenue from the basement.
• Membership of the gym would be restricted to local people and the opening hours limited to times acceptable to the neighbours.

Further details are in a copy of the Association's letter to Lambeth and its attachment, both of which are available here.