Save Libraries campaign - June update

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.

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

    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.

    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,

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