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.
Lambeth have announced that they will be putting on an exhibition about the possible future uses of the building instead, it seems, of the public meeting they were promising for many months. The exhibition will be on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 June. A copy of their flyer giving details is here.
The Friends' committee prepared a leaflet giving questions visitors to the exhibition may want to ask. This is here and here. In the meantime it is hoped that local people will appreciate that the Neighbourhood Library promised by Lambeth is defined by Lambeth to consist only of books, computers and Wi-Fi access in a room used for non-library purposes. A Neighbourhood Library does NOT INCLUDE a room or a part of a room set aside for library use. The Culture 2020 Report approved by Lambeth's Cabinet and, subsequently, full Council proposes that these books etc be located in a gym lounge. The initial floor plans disclosed recently show a library element mixed in with ‘flexible community space'.
Any further plans disclosed by Lambeth will need careful scrutiny. The current proposal is to let the whole building to Greenwich Leisure Limited as a Healthy Living Centre comprising a range of uses. They would not get just the basement for use as a gym.
Jeff Doorn, Chair
On 31st March, the library was scheduled to be closed until 2017. Instead, over 60 occupiers - of all ages - took over the building, and have been there for the last three days. News updates can be found on twitter, hashtag #carnegieoccupation. There has been coverage by the BBC and Financial Times, and support from many other groups. Regular rallies outside the library are being organised in support - note that currently Lambeth is not allowing anyone to enter the building - not even to let children rejoin their parents.
Defend the 10 also has updates on the situation.
There will be a march starting from the Carnegie at 11.30am on Saturday 9th.
A video about our library and its current plight has been posted for view on YouTube. Made by brilliant young film maker Kaatje Jones, it runs for just under ten minutes and highlights some of the groups and activities in Carnegie Library, which are all under threat of ceasing on 31 March, if Lambeth persists in its plans.
Please watch the video on Video and support our campaign to keep a full library service, run by our dedicated professional staff, with all the clubs, groups, events and activities we now enjoy, plus more being developed and facilitated by the Friends.
Tate South Lambeth is facing similar problems, here is their recent newsletter:
Tate South Library Newsletter
Details of the library service management plans to keep all 10 libraries operating are here:
Library service plan.
Saturday 6 February is National Libraries Day. Come and show how much you love and need the library and what it means to you. Highlight of the day will be a rally at 2.00pm on the steps of the library. Look out for leaflets and posters and come out in force. Afterwards, visit our tea and yummy cake stall, play chess, do some gardening or attend Councillor Agdomar’s surgery.
On Wednesday 27th January there will be a Council meeting at which the Lambeth libraries campaign have a motion calling on the council to support the libraries management plan to continue a genuine library service at all 10 of Lambeth's libraries. Please come along to show how important libraries are to Lambeth residents.
The Friends annual Winter Fair will be in the library on Saturday 28th, from 11am to 3pm, featuring all the usual community stalls, arts & crafts stalls, food, games, events, Santa, etc.
Poster A4 2015(1)
Lambeth Council's Cabinet has approved plans to convert the library into a "healthy living centre" based on a fee-paying gym with a "small selection of books" in the gym's lounge. There would not be any library staff; it is unclear whether the gym would be staffed. The conversion works are estimated to take at least 9 months and close the building for most of 2016. The Friends are holding a public meeting on Monday 16 November at 6.30 for 7-8.30pm in the Carnegie, to discuss the plans, and our work to oppose these and to promote alternatives.
Here are the slides from the meeting: Friends of Carnegie Library(1)
We will be posting more information on the campaign shortly. Thanks to everyone for your support!