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Community groups endorse Labour’s approach to libraries

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Local community groups have praised Lambeth Labour’s approach to working with them to protect library services in the borough.

Libraries are at the heart of our neighbourhoods but across the country, hundreds of libraries have closed. 449 have been shut across the country due to huge government cuts by the Conservatives.

Despite these cuts, in Lambeth we’ve kept all 10 of our libraries open and last year issued more items in our libraries than ever before. We’ve done so by protecting our most popular town centre libraries and extending their opening hours, while ensuring we can continue to deliver services in our smaller neighbourhood libraries.

Councillor Sonia Winifred said:Government cuts have meant we’ve had no choice to look at how we deliver our services differently and that hasn’t always been easy. But I’m proud that by working with people and being bold and innovative in our approach to defending local services, we have kept all ten libraries open for Lambeth residents.”

Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Charitable Trust, said: “We have enjoyed working with Lib and the team to deliver a new library in Waterloo, on our schools programme as well as programme to combat youth violence. Lambeth is a great place and enjoys really strong partnerships between the voluntary sector and the council.”

Emma Sharvilles, Director at Upper Norwood Library Trust, said: “Upper Norwood Library Hub is a social enterprise set up by the local community to save our local library. We have worked in partnership with both Lambeth and Croydon councils to keep our Library open, completely refurbish it and extend our opening hours. We are delighted that both councils have committed a further three years funding to enable us to maintain the library and also continue to evolve it into a unique and sustainable community learning hub. This will include the launch of the UK’s leading ‘Library of Things’, plus a range of other educational and cultural activities.”

Lambeth’s ten libraries are:

Upper Norwood Library – building now run by Upper Norwood Library Trust and offering a wide range of learning and cultural activities, a coffee shop and a ‘library of things’ alongside the fantastic traditional library. We have now committed a further £117,000 to Upper Norwood to help the Trust build on their great early work. Visitor numbers and book lending have increased.

Visit www.uppernorwoodlibraryhub.org for more details.

Waterloo Library – has moved from the rundown Lower Marsh site, to the Oasis Centre at 1 Kennington Road, with longer opening hours and a full stock of books thanks to a partnership with Oasis Charitable Trust. The new library has seen more visitor numbers. The old library site is currently home to a small business hub.

Brixton Library – the popular town centre library is fully maintained, open 56 hours a week.

Streatham Library – expanded and beautifully refurbished in 2014 at a cost of £1.4m, the library maintains a full service open 56 hours a week.

West Norwood Library – the current library is maintaining a full service, as work is completed on the new town centre library in the old Nettlefold Hall which will open later this summer alongside a four-screen cinema.

Clapham Library – brand new town centre library opened in 2012 at the heart of the High Street, along with state-of-the-art meeting rooms and stunning performance space for hire.

Tate South Lambeth Library – fully maintained service opened 40 hours a week with excellent facilities for people with disabilities.

Durning Library – fully maintained service opened 40 hours a week as usual.

Carnegie Library – by partnering with the council’s leisure provider GLL and local community group Carnegie Community Trust, we are able to keep the library open as well as expand the building’s offer to include a gym in the newly excavated basement and further educational activities alongside the library, with longer opening hours. http://love.lambeth.gov.uk/carnegie-library-reopens/

Minet Library – open as a Neighbourhood Library for 34 hours a week alongside Lambeth Archives.

As well as our work on protecting our libraries, we are committed to investing in the Lambeth Archives service, having made the decision last year to move to a brand new state of the art facility in Kennington to make the Archives more accessible and fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

http://love.lambeth.gov.uk/lambeth-archives-future/

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