Carnegie Library reopens

15 February 2018

Written by: Lambeth Council

Arts, culture and events - Focus on Brixton - News and announcements

Carnegie library in Herne Hill has reopened, returning Lambeth library service to its full complement of ten libraries across the borough.

Main post content

Carnegie closed in March 2016 due to plans to excavate the basement and expand the building’s offer, in order to keep the library open and financially sustainable in the long term.

That work is nearing completion, allowing the library to initially open in the main hall on the ground floor of the building, for 40 hours per week.

  • The book stock will be built up to the same level of 18,000 as previously.
  • There are 10 computers for library members to use, plus a computer with access to the Lambeth Library catalogue.
  • A self-service machine allows library users to return, borrow and renew items, as well as pay for any loan or overdue charges.
  • Photocopying, printing and scanning facilities are available.
  • There is a weekly Under 5s group and a monthly reading group.
  • Local community groups are able to use the main library during opening hours.
  • Lambeth Libraries staff will be present for at least two hours per day and customer care staff will be present during all library opening hours to ensure the safety of users and provide assistance.

Internal photo of Carnegie library  Children's section in Carnegie library

The library will be open

  • Monday – 1pm till 8pm
  • Tuesday – 1pm till 6pm
  • Wednesday – 1pm till 6pm
  • Thursday – 1pm till 6pm
  • Friday – 1pm till 6pm
  • Saturday – 9am till 5pm
  • Sunday – 12pm till 5pm

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, said: “I’m delighted that Carnegie is finally reopen, and the people of Herne Hill have their library back and serving the community.

“It has taken longer than we expected but we are now getting to the end of that process and I’m excited to get back into the building and see people of all ages and all backgrounds reading, learning and enjoying this wonderful cultural space.

“The short-term pain of having the building closed and extended will ensure that it is sustainable long into the future. Local authority budgets are under severe pressure from government cuts and hundreds of libraries up and down the country have sadly closed for good. In Lambeth however, we have worked hard to find solutions that means all ten of our libraries are remaining open, serving their local communities and providing a great service to our residents.”

Community Hub

The rest of the building will open in phases, with a Community Hub in place when refurbishment of the ground floor is complete and an asset transfer of the building is agreed with the council’s preferred partner the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT).

The plans put forward by the CCT include: a café, an enterprise centre, space for meetings and community events, space for hire and restoration of the garden for use by residents and the community alongside the library provision which will move into the former gallery and children’s library at the front of the building.

The CCT plan to focus on programmes around enterprise and learning; health and wellbeing; and performance and arts.

The basement gym is due to open in late summer 2018 and will be operated by the council’s leisure provider GLL.

Library open long into the future

These changes are designed to keep the library open long into the future. Expanding the building delivers an extra source of income (via the gym) to help meet the costs of running the Carnegie year after year. Working in partnership with the Carnegie Community Trust (CCT), the Carnegie will deliver more for local residents, increase potential for grant funding and save the council money.

For more information, please see our Lambeth libraries frequently asked questions.