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.
On Saturday 9th, the Friends and other supporters gathered at the library to perform a re-enactment of the opening ceremony in 1906. 'Andrew Carnegie' and others expressed their hopes and wishes that the library would be maintained in perpetuity by Lambeth council - however the ceremony also marked 100 days since the library was closed by the same council.
The two-day exhibition on Lambeth’s and GLL’s plans for the future of the Carnegie (building, not library) showed that Lambeth’s plans are still at a very early stage. The display consisted of four panels which revealed little or nothing new; even the outline floor plans were the same as published two months ago. You can view the panels here: Carnegie exhibition.
Lambeth officers, local councillors and GLL representatives were on hand to answer questions; but visitors found a lack of consistency in the replies, and in some cases profound ignorance. The Friends had produced a double-sided leaflet listing concerns and questions visitors might like to ask. This is here and here.
Visitors were invited to leave comments on a postcard; we look forward to publication of these; what has been photographed and tweeted so far reveals strong opposition and disdain.
There are serious problems with these ill-conceived plans, and to insist on imposing them would be disastrous. Once again, we invite Lambeth to work with the Friends and Carnegie Library Association for a holistic, sustainable and popular development to benefit the whole community.
On Thursday 16th June, the Friend's charitable trust was awarded £1000 as a result of a competition run at the Charter School, where teams of students bid for funds for a charity of their choice. The photo shows the winning team, Rosa Beuzwal, Oliver and Ellie, with Jeff Doorn, chair of the Association and of the Friends. The funds will be used to develop the Association's business plans to run the Carnegie building and library as a community-led trust.