Healthy outlook for Lambeth libraries

2 October 2015

Written by: The Culture 2020 Team

Arts, culture and events - Council statements and updates

Following feedback during the Culture 2020 consultation, new plans have been developed that could see library buildings open for longer and offer wider benefits to the local community including health and fitness services as well as study space, IT access and book lending.

The changes will be discussed at a Lambeth Cabinet Meeting on 12 October.

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Healthy outlook for Lambeth libraries

These changes come in the context of budget cuts for the council of over 50% since 2010. Despite these huge pressures, the council has responded to consultation feedback by changing its plans, particularly for the library buildings.

During the public consultation, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) the social enterprise company that runs Lambeth’s leisure centres proposed the creation of  an independent, not-for-profit Lambeth Cultural Trust, starting with three trial sites (Carnegie, Minet and Tate South Lambeth) where people will be able to access health and library services.

Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said; “There’s no escaping the hard choices we have to make given the massive cuts to our budgets. Not everyone will welcome these proposals and there will be some job losses and changes to services. But by using much loved community buildings more imaginatively, Carnegie, Minet and Tate South Lambeth have a more secure future. It means overall, much longer opening hours and a wider range of facilities and activities, including books and study space.”

What this means for libraries:

  • No change to statutory town centre library services in Brixton, Streatham, Clapham and West Norwood. These libraries will remain staffed by the council.
  • Minet Library will not be sold and will continue to house Lambeth Archives until a new home is found for them.
  • A new town centre library in West Norwood at the Nettlefold Hall development which includes a cinema and café, subject to planning permission.
  • Upper Norwood neighbourhood library will be our first independent community run library and will continue to be funded, at a reduced level, jointly by Lambeth and Croydon councils.
  • Waterloo Library will close by April 2016 but the plan is to partner with Oasis Charitable Trust to provide a neighbourhood library service at the Oasis Centre on Kennington Road , along with wider community benefits including the Waterloo Foodbank, Oasis debt advice service and Credit Union and a space for community activities including a gym and sports hall.
  • Tate South Lambeth Library was originally proposed as the temporary town centre library for the north of the borough but because the building is more suitable for a healthy living centre, it’s now proposed that Durning Library will become the temporary town centre library funded by the council. However, the ambition would remain for a new library in the north of the borough by 2022.
  • It is proposed that the home visiting service will continue to deliver books to the homes of those who can’t get out and about – supporting our most vulnerable residents.

The plans also involve setting up a Lambeth Cultural Board by January 2016 within the existing contract with GLL that runs to 2022. By then, the council would be in a position to review whether this model is working.

There are also recommendations for reviewing the parks’ grounds maintenance contract and plans for a separate report to consider a new event strategy for parks and open spaces that will aim to increase income.

You can download a copy of the cabinet report here.