Friends of Minet Library - News

As a founding partner of the Minet Hub, we aim to regenerate Minet Library and its archive as a resource centre, with a new building on the site, a focus on improving access to information through digital media (including training, education and employment).

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  • 29 Nov 2017 7:00 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    The summer library service at the Minet Library will continue at the site, following a decision by Lambeth Council regarding the Archives which is based in the same building.The Lambeth Archives is due to move to a new, purpose built facility at 301 Kennington Lane which will take around three to four years to come to fruition.

    While the Archives remains at the Minet site at 52 Knatchbull Road, a neighbourhood library is open alongside.

    The library has as a self-service facility with trained library staff support for between two and a half and three hours a day from the Hubs Library team. 

    The Home Visit library service will continue to be based in the building, whose staff, alongside the Archives staff, will be able to monitor use of the library, when librarians are not present.

    The library will open for the same hours as the Archives, as below:

    • Monday 1pm-8pm (A librarian will be available from 2 to 5pm)
    • Tuesday 10am-6pm (A librarian will be available from 10am to 12.30pm)
    • Wednesday closed
    • Thursday 10am-6pm (A librarian will be available from 2 to 5pm)
    • Friday 10am-3pm (A librarian will be available from 10am to 1pm)
    • Saturday 9am-1pm & 2pm–5pm (A librarian will be available from 9 to 11.30am)

    Activities delivered include a weekly Under 5s group – Wriggle & Rhyme every Tuesday morning from 10.30 – and a monthly Reading Group, as well as other library activities, such as school holiday activities and digital support.

    IT facilities are available and the number of PCs will also be increased soon.

    A decision on the long term future of the Minet site will be made in partnership with the local community. A meeting between the chair and secretary of Friends of Minet Library and Lambeth Council has been arranged for 13th December to begin discussions about the future of the site.

    Friends of Minet Library will start to hold monthly meetings after the New Year so everyone can get involved in the future of the site and the library provision for this area.

  • 29 Aug 2017 6:49 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    The Friends of Minet Library & Archives will meet this Saturday, in the Archive at 4pm.  Amongst others items, they will discuss recent news about the building, including the Options Appraisal from Lambeth, and then plan next steps. Everyone welcome. 

  • 04 Aug 2017 8:43 AM | Minet Hub (Administrator)

    Friends of Minet Library are holding a meeting this Saturday, 5 August, 4-5pm to discuss the report published by Lambeth on their proposals to move the Minet Archive.  

    A full copy of the Options Appraisal report can be downloaded here.

    In addition, the Options Appraisal presentation to stakeholders slide pack can be found here.

    We will also be holding our regular gardening session from 2pm - 4pm; everyone welcome to this. 

  • 21 Jul 2016 7:50 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)


    Gardening session: 23 July

    Friends of Minet Library will be gardening at the library and archive this Saturday 23rd July 2pm to 4pm on Saturday; these sessions are an opportunity to help support the archive and library in a practical way but also to catch up with campaigners and find out the latest in the campaign.


    Archive Consultation

    Please show your support for Minet library by completing this survey about the future of the Lambeth archive.  Friends of Minet library believe the archive plays a critical role in protecting Minet library.

    We believe:

    • the archive is the only remaining indoor facility freely available to all in their neighbourhood and it is vitally important that it stays.
    • we believe we can raise the money to redevelop the archive and library on site, helping to create a resource centre for the area with new meeting, exhibition and study spaces, plus investment in interpretation to help everyone connect with our local past.
    • the archives are in the right place - in the Victorian setting where they were created.
    • there is space to improve parking and funding available to improve bus services to the area - which would also benefit local people.

    Please give them your support


    Public Meeting: Defend the 10

    This Thursday 21st, Brixton library from 8pm


    Heritage Lottery Fund bid

    Minet Hub has been given the go ahead to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £10,000 to support the formal development of Friends of Minet Library group, including a remit to consult local people about what they would like to see in a 21st century library/archive. 





    People's audit opens up the Town Hall books

    Lambeth Council ‘invested’ just £57,000 in libraries last year, compared to a massive £13,065,000 spend on corporate office accommodation. This is just one of the financial findings uncovered by the People’s Audit of Lambeth – a group of concerned citizens who have been investigating the financial spend of Lambeth Council over the past twelve months

  • 26 Jun 2016 8:52 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Update on Minet Library 

    Friends of Minet Library have met Council Leader, Lib Peck to talk about their plans for the library, which you can see on our site and include bringing in Heritage Lottery Funding to fund the development of the archive.   Lib Peck has agreed that GLL will not be given a lease on the library or given the go ahead to install a gym until after September, as consultants are currently looking into the future of Minet archives and will make recommendations about where the archives are sited in September.  The consultants will also be gathering views from across the borough as part of their work and we will publicise the survey as soon as it's released.  The closing date for the survey is 31 August.

    There is a range of events still being run at Minet Library including reading group and gardening sessions every fortnight (next one 9th July which will include a reminiscence session).  For more details see Minet site.

    Other news from Friends of Lambeth Libraries

    Getting Carnegie and Minet Libraries reopened

    Working to get both Carnegie and Minet Libraries re-opened is the ongoing focus for the Friends of Lambeth Libraries (FOLL).  There are two separate strands to this: writing to Lib Peck (Leader of Councillor) and setting up a group meeting with the help of Alison McKane, Lambeth Head of Legal. 

    GLL plans

    The 'exhibition' run by GLL at Carnegie library on 21-22 June was very revealing. There were NO proper details about proposed 'neighbourhood library' - how many books/PCs, how much study space, space in general, how staffed, how it will work financially, organisationally etc. Those GLL staff on hand were unable to answer many of the questions and said they had no clue that a gym in the Carnegie Library building has been rejected by the local community.  They left significantly better informed on this point by the time they left!  99% of comments on the exhibition were hostile to proposed plans – we hope to publish many of these comments on the website shortly.

    It is becoming clear that GLL are not wildly enthusiastic about Lambeth’s plans for gyms in Carnegie and Minet Libraries so we must keep the pressure up on GLL. Please continue to write/re-write letters to Managing Director of GLL, Mark Sesnan []

    Council budget planning

    Labour Councillors are starting to discuss next year's budget now, with a view to have it provisionally sorted out by October.  So, it’s important that we contact our local councillors to make sure they adequately take into account, and represent, the views of their constituents on the issue of Libraries.  The situation is precarious, however as, having failed to make the savings promised through Library cuts this year, the Council may be even less disposed to listen to arguments in favour of making adequate provision for Libraries this next year. More details about this are on the website.

    It is likely that all funding on Libraries will be eliminated except for four big libraries at Brixton, Clapham, Streatham, West Norwood.  The timing however will be a crucial factor as the budget will have to be published just before the 2018 local elections.  So make sure you tell your Councillor how you feel about Library cuts and remind them that (1) The Green party has recently had huge success in the formerly safe ward of Gipsy Hill, where they campaigned on libraries as well as estate demolitions; and (2) Labour was voted out of office following mass library closure plans in 2000. Following that defeat, the party's own post-mortem found library plans were major factor.

    Against this backdrop, FOLL are working again on the plan proposed by Susanna Barnes to gather support for that.

    Supporting Rachel Heywood

    The online petition to support Rachel needs more signatures.  She is still the sole Labour Councillor to speak out publicly against library closures, and has been suspended from the party for her pains.  The petition will remain open until her appeal (date tbc) so please do sign it:
    Paper versions also available on website, & we find people very eager to sign at fairs, events etc.

    DCMS review of Lambeth’s Library provision

    The man from the ministry - Dept. for Culture, Media & Sport – is now reviewing all the documentation he has received about the plans Lambeth Council has for their libraries.  He remains very open to father contributions to his deliberations so all FOLL members are encouraged to submit comments and updates to him.

    Robbie Gibson still missing

    One of the FOLL campaigners, Robbie Gibson, has been missing since mid June.  FOLL and many hundreds of other people are concerned about him and have launched a campaign to find him.  For latest news, or to support the campaign to find him, see the Defend the 10 website

    Update on Carnegie Library

    Friends of Carnegie have produced a leaflet explaining
    background, including a range of questions about the proposed plans.  You can see it here.
    They also ran stands in Ruskin Park to spread the word and get feedback from locals.  Their events also included a panel discussion with Cllr Jack Holborn, Tim O’Dell and others talking about “What is a library?”  You can listen to it here.

    There was press coverage in The Bookseller, Brixton Blog, Brixton Buzz & the Evening Standard.

    Reviewing bids for Carnegie
    Lambeth is to evaluate the rival bids for the asset transfer of Carnegie library in September.  There are two bids under consideration:

    The Friends of Carnegie Library group is working up its business plan. It seeks some heavy hitters to join its trustees - especially more experts on finance, business &
    facilities management. Please volunteer or think of others you could approach. The work is now backed by a £1,000 community grant from local Charter School, won via student Rosa Buezeval - terrific achievement, great publicity! Thank you, Rosa.

    Update on Upper Norwood Junction Library

    Upper Norwood Junction Library will lose its staff from 1 July (all but a mysteriously-funded 35 hours a week of librarian time, replacing current staff of five).  The local friends group has decided against holding a demonstration but will be keeping an eye on how the almost-unstaffed new 'neighbourhood library' pans out.

    Forthcoming events

    • TUES 28 JUNE
      6pm - lobby of GLL at Brixton Rec. Ideally we would do this all day as well. Suggestions: wear daft gym gear; bring lots of pink stickers to put up.
      Please email Laura Swaffield [] to if you can join them.

    • WED 29 JUNE
      7pm Carnegie library weekly get-together on library steps.

    • THURS 30 JUNE
      7-9pm, South Bank Forum public meeting. Waterloo library on the agenda.  Coin St community centre, 108 Stamford Street, South Bank
      London SE1 9NH

    • THURS 7 JULY
      8pm, defend-the-10 meeting, Brixton library.

    • SAT 9 JULY
      2-4pm: Minet fortnightly gardening session; followed by march to Carnegie Library at 4pm, joining their event to celebrate the anniversary of Carnegie Library opening, 110 years ago.  More details to follow but Edwardian dress encouraged.  
    • WED 13 JULY
      6.30 for 7pm: full Council meeting of Lambeth Council.  Friends of Lambeth Library to be present.  If you have questions/issues you’d like raised, please email

    • SAT/SUN 16/17 JULY
      Lambeth County Show.  Show your support for our Libraries.  Wear your “Save Our Libraries” T-shirt when visiting the show.  To get a T-shirt, see Defend the 10 site here.

    • THURS 19 JULY
      6.30pm - reading group at Minet. New members very welcome. This month’s book is 'Stoner' by John Williams. For more details, email Errol, []
    • MID-JULY, DATE as yet to be confirmed
      We believe there are plans to move the book stock from Minet Library to furnish the new library at Waterloo.  We will publish more details as soon as we have them.  Be prepared to turn out to show Lambeth how opposed you are to their plans for Minet Library.  

    with thanks for your continued support,

  • 25 May 2016 7:23 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)


    Meeting with Lib Peck

    Marjorie (chair of Friends of Minet Library) and Tori met with Lib Peck on Thursday 19th May and discussed our business plan for the library. The plan, which was submitted to the council last April, includes applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to redevelop the Archives and building flats on top of the library to provide investment and income for the library and archives.

    Consultants have been appointed to carry out an options appraisal to determine the future of the archives and where they should go. We have asked to be included in the appraisal and that one option is to stay where it is. We hope that Friends of Minet Library and Archives will be consulted as part of the appraisal which will be carried out over the next few months. We will keep everyone informed of this process....

    Gardening session: Saturday 28th May

    Everyone is invited to find out more by coming along to our gardening session which will be held outside the library and archive from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday. Plus we’ll have live music, free veggie burgers, cake and tea. You can also show your support for the library and archives by picking up posters for your front window/car and tying yellow ribbons on the railings (all posters and ribbons provided). See poster attached for more details about the event.

    Use the archives

    You can use the photocopier/scanner producing A3/A4 colour and b/w copies and the archives offer study space with free wifi. Local history publications and postcards are on sale and of course there is access to the local studies library and the archives and expert advice on how to use the collections.

    Get into reading

    Erol will lead Get Into Reading every Friday, from 2pm to 4pm. You don’t have to read anything in advance as everything is read aloud to you each week. You can simply drop in, sit down and enjoy listening to a good story or poem - There’s no pressure to talk, to read, or even to drink tea.



    Council meeting debacle on Wed 18th - decent turn-out for demo, but chaos when we tried to speak for 2 mins re libraries emergency (they had refused to allow a deputation because nothing is new since our last one in November!!!!)

    Next public meeting Thurs 26, Brixton library, 8pm


    Please keep writing to GLL - this has to be top priority now. Write to: Mark Sesnan ( Managing Director, GLL.  

    Their website ( says: "We’re a charitable social enterprise, which means we work for the benefit of everyone: the public, the communities we work in, the environment, our staff and our partners. ...We act as a charity and are are here for the good of the communities we operate in ......We believe social values are just as important as financial performance."



    • Print out the poster (link here) and put it in your front window or car window.
    • Tie a yellow ribbon on the railings outside the library and leave messages of support.

  • 12 Apr 2016 8:34 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Things to do to keep up the pressure to save Minet Library

    Wednesday 13th April, 7 pm, Elm Green School, Elmcourt Rd, London SE27 9BZ: Attend the demonstration called by UNISON to coincide with Lambeth Council meeting. 

    Email GLL: it’s vital that GLL knows how unpopular the gym plan is.  We want to put pressure on them to withdraw from the plan. Send your own email (or use the draft text below) to, Managing Director of GLL as soon as possible

    Help make banners: Lambeth has taken down the banners and signs we left outside the library. We want to make new banners and put them on railings outside homes around the library so people know we are fighting on. Come along at 2pm on Saturday to Minet Library to help us make new banners.


    Display posters in your front window and ask your neighbours to put them in theirs: we are getting posters printed and want them in every window: we will have them ready on Saturday so please pick up from outside Minet on Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. We will also send them out as an attachment so you can print your own

    EMAIL TO GLL (this was signed by 30 local organisations and sent as an open letter last week):

    Dear Mark Sesnan (Managing Director of GLL)


    We, the undersigned, are writing to state our total opposition to gyms being installed in Minet and Carnegie libraries. We want and need the libraries that were gifted to these communities.


    We are writing to ask GLL to see sense and withdraw from the hated plans to put gyms in Minet and Carnegie libraries.


    Where communities have been consulted about this (at Durning and Tate South Lambeth) they rejected the idea of a gym being installed.


    Lambeth has not had the courtesy to consult people living around Carnegie and Minet libraries but our community is united in its belief that installing a gym at the heart of our beloved library buildings is vandalism and dereliction of duty in the handling of public assets. 

    We absolutely oppose handing over the building to a private operator and we reject the offer of unstaffed study and community spaces. 


    People living around Minet library in Coldharbour, Vassall and Herne Hill wards suffer some of the most acute deprivation in Britain. People who use the libraries at present - including children to do homework - face multiple deprivation and live in some of the most overcrowded housing in the borough. The libraries are a crucial lifeline to opportunity and if we lose these libraries then Lambeth will be leaving our communities to rot. 

    We believe Lambeth is reacting out of short term panic and that we will live to regret their poverty of thinking over decades to come. Please show better judgement and withdraw from this deal before it's too late. To persist can only do harm to GLL’s reputation.


    Yours sincerely

  • 20 Mar 2016 6:25 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    A number of us gathered at Camberwell library on Saturday to try and get Sadiq Khan to help us defend libraries in Lambeth. After all, he has put that he intends to work with boroughs to save Libraries into his manifesto for London's Mayoral election, so we were hoping he'd start doing that before May 5th. 

    The irony of meeting in front of the brand new library in Southwark was not lost on us.  How is that one Labour-led council is able to invest in the next generation, building schools and libraries, when another is intent on closing down libraries? 

  • 18 Mar 2016 6:21 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    MINET LIBRARY to close on April 1st 2016

    To protest or make your voice heard:

    Please sign the online petitions

    Tell all your friends and family, email your councillors



    Cabinet member: leader of the council:

    and GLL (Greenwich leisure Ltd) who are turning our libraries into gyms:

    Come along to events:

    Monday 21st March 7pm Cabinet Meeting; Lilian Bayliss School

    Come along to the Lambeth Council Cabinet meeting and protest the closure of these libraries

    Tues 29th March 4 - 6pm Children’s book at bedtime

    bring a sleeping bag and pillow and read to your child (even if they’ve grown up!) everyone welcome

    Don’t steal  our Libraries - Help Save Lambeth's 10 Libraries

    follow us on @defendtheten / @SaveLambethLibs and on friends of minet library

    or find out more at

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