Lambeth Council have backed down on closing Upper Norwood Library, keeping it open now until July and then with library staff on site for another 2 years after that. A massive victory for the local library campaign
Lambeth Council have announced a further U-turn, leading campaigners to question whether the “shambolic” Culture 2020 proposals will be wholly abandoned.
Residents behind the Upper Norwood Library Trust hoped to be able to save the local library service to keep it open for generations to come. Lambeth Council have confirmed that though they are handing the Upper Norwood Library building and £175,000 each year to the Trust, this could not be used to provide a library service.
Lambeth Council today confirmed that Upper Norwood will stay as it is until at least July and they will provide some Library staff at the site for the entire duration of the Trust’s contract.
Campaigners have called a demonstration on Saturday 30 April, the day the Library was due to be decommissioned. The protest will go ahead to call for the reopening of Minet and Carnegie libraries and for a full library service at Upper Norwood.
Ruth Cashman, joint secretary of Lambeth UNISON and a librarian in the borough said;
“The Council’s plans are becoming more flimsy and incomprehensible as time goes on. A plan to save money and keep all ten libraries in Lambeth open and staffed, has been rejected because it could not be delivered by 1 April. But across the borough we see none of the Council’s proposals have been put in place and what library services will be provided where, changes every week. So far the fantastic community campaigns have saved Tate South Lambeth Library, pushed back the closing of Upper Norwood and now it looks like the Council are groping their way toward a full library service in the building too. We will continue to campaign until we have a commitment from Lambeth to save Upper Norwood and all our other libraries.
The demonstration will go ahead on Saturday, as staff and communities have made the commitment to fight to defend all ten libraries and all the services which run in them.
Millions of pounds of capital expenditure is being put up to pay to build unwanted gyms in some of our libraries, tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has already been given to a group of Councillors and ex-Councillors in Herne Hill for plans that have been comprehensively rejected by the local community and in Upper Norwood the Trust are being offered hundreds of thousands of pounds but only on the condition that they do no run a library service. There seems to be a good deal more money for closing libraries than has ever been offered to keep them open.