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.
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.
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)!
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.
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
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.
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.
Since 1999 the Friends have held an annual
Winter Fair. Over the years it became one of
the most popular events in the Herne Hill
calendar. With the library closed we cannot
stage a full-scale fair; but we will hold a
modified ‘Spirit of Libraries’ event to afford
some seasonal cheer and remind everyone we
are still here,
and organise opposition to the new planning application.
Come along on Saturday 3 December from
11.00–3.00 at Herne Hill United Church Hall
and Garden Room, Red Post Hill. There will of
course be our famous tea & cake stall,
community stalls, craft stalls, a raffle and other
Reunite with old friends and meet new ones for
a true community celebration. Make a
resolution to return to the library next year,
reviving the Winter Fair and all activities.
4pm: A planning application has now been filed to make drastic,
irreversible changes to the Carnegie building. Public meeting to
The Carnegie Library Association, which includes the Friends as a member organisation along with other library user groups and stakeholders, has submitted a bid for asset transfer of the Carnegie Library. The bid, and details of the CLA constitution and trustees can be seen at the CLA website: carnegielibraryassociation.org.uk.
With our partners in the Carnegie Library Association CIO, the Friends are arranging two public meetings to discuss plans for the future. The announcement leaflet is
Please come on either THURSDAY 22 SEPTEMBER at ST SAVIOUR’S PARISH HALL 6.30- 9.30PM or SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER at HERNE HILL UNITED CHURCH HALL 2.00 – 5.00PM.
Survey forms are being delivered where possible and will also be available at the meetings for local residents, community groups and desk space hirers (former or potential).
The survey is online here
Alternatively, the survey forms are here: Residents survey,
Community groups survey,
Desk space survey. The forms can be filled in and emailed to us.
Please take part and have your say.
Please also help to spread the word by displaying the poster announcing the public meetings here.
Despite the closure of the library, the Friends are continuing with a programme of events, and on Saturday host the popular evening Bat walk with Dr Iain Bolton & bat detectors in Ruskin Park. Meet at 8.20pm by the top gate on Ferndene Road for a fun hour in the park.