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).

  • 07 Feb 2016 10:10 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    With just weeks to go to save our Libraries, the campaign to Defend the 10 goes on.  We need your support to convince Lambeth Council that we want to keep our Libraries, not turn them into gyms. 


    You can sign the petition in the Minet Library, turn out to support Library staff on Monday 8 February @ 12.30 and write to your local councillors to let them know how you feel.  For more information on all these and other actions you can take, see the Defend the 10 website.  

  • 03 Feb 2016 6:57 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)



    Thursday 4th February 7pm
    Brixton Library




    The council has a simple choice between two plans:

    1. The plan devised by libraries chief Susanna Barnes.
    This saves MORE money, saves library buildings and jobs, keeps all 10 libraries delivering the full service people want, and has the full support of residents.

    2. The current Culture2020 plan.
    This saves LESS money, wastes millions more on the widely ridiculed gyms idea, will reduce 5 libraries to almost nothing on 1 April, and is a PR disaster for the council. Even on the crudest financial basis, the Culture2020 plan does not add up. It would cost the council far more money, while it ruins a service that its most vulnerable citizens depend on. It took a long battle even to reveal the existence of Susanna Barnes’ plan, but councillors – notably the architect of the Culture 2020 plan and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods Jane Edbrooke – still wants to carry on with the ill thought out GLL option. We all need to somehow persuade the council to show some common sense – and please seriously look at this better and cost saving option.

    FOLL and UNISON have worked round the clock to publicise the plain facts, make reasoned arguments and demonstrate the bitter opposition of thousands of people all over the borough. Lambeth councillors are all still toeing the party line. Please get in touch with your councillor and ask them why they are not backing this plan from their own Head of Libraries in Lambeth



    For more information go to Friends of Lambeth Libraries website:

  • 25 Jan 2016 10:26 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)


    New plan to save Lambeth libraries

    Friends of Minet Library have welcomed a plan which claims it will save all ten Lambeth libraries while making all the cuts needed by Lambeth.

    Head of Lambeth Libraries Susannah Barnes has submitted the plan for a new community/staff mutual to Lambeth.

    Friends of Lambeth Libraries say:


    Here, at last, is the plan that can end all the protests, end the threat of strikes, remove the threat of judicial review and – above all – preserve a popular, high-performing library service that is bringing national kudos to Lambeth.


    IT IS WRITTEN BY SUSANNA BARNES, HEAD OF LIBRARIES, who in two short years (with full support of staff and residents) has made this under-funded service:
    • the TOP performer nationally for increases in usage
    • nationally recognised for a whole list of successful new services.

    • It makes EXACTLY THE SAME SAVINGS short-term
    • In the mid-term it makes MORE SAVINGS
    • It also offers MORE WAYS TO GENERATE future income.


    It can be put into action quickly, while the GLL plan is barely worked out, and is struggling to get even basic provisions set up.


    • Massive staff redundancies (25%)
    • Five out of 10 libraries reduced to a small ‘lounge’ with few books or PCs
    • The same five libraries to have NO staff at all to help people
    • Consequent serious harm to vulnerable groups including: small children, families, schoolkids and students, old people, disabled people, women, BME communities, people on low incomes, benefits claimants, and more.
    • Extra pressure on council services from those deprived of help and advice.
    • Heavy expenditure on unwanted gyms (£3m capital, £1m+ revenue)
    • Long closures while the gyms are installed
    • Elaborate mish-mash of up to five different trusts to run just 10 buildings – including handing valuable buildings to GLL at a peppercorn rent, already recognised as a financial risk to the
    • Very, very unpopular – as shown in demonstrations by hundreds of people, and over 10,000 signatures on petitions.


    • It keeps all 10 badly-needed libraries
    • It provides longer opening hours at all of them
    • It maintains Lambeth’s nationally famous, ground-breaking access service for people with sight problems or dyslexia – this won’t survive in the GLL plan
    • It introduces a much-needed schools library service
    • It develops a range of new, innovative specialist services including a computer design ‘fab lab’, extra support for unemployed people, business support, even more healthy living advice/activities – and more
    • It focuses clearly on Lambeth residents’ real needs and the council’s priorities, including: mental health, unemployment, poor IT skills and access, poverty, poor housing, social cohesion.


    REMEMBER – ALL THIS COMES AT LESS COST THAN THE CURRENT Culture2020 PLAN and the financial details are thoroughly worked out.






    See further details of the new plan here:

    To express your support email: (Cabinet member for Cultural Services)
    Local councillors:
    Paul Gadsby:
    Annie Gallop:
    Jacqui Dyer:

    The council will also be considering the future of our libraries at a meeting on Wednesday this week (
    27 January 2016) at 7.00 pm in the main hall, Elm Green School, Elmcourt Rd, London SE27 9BZ

  • 14 Jan 2016 6:47 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Stop press: the detailed proposal to retain all ten Lambeth libraries has gone to the Council 

    At the beginning of January Susanna Barnes, Head of Libraries, sent Lambeth Council officers her plan to maintain a full service at all ten Lambeth libraries while making all the savings required by the Council in the next four years, on a financially sound calculation. This would be achieved through a staff/community mutual trust, on a pattern developed in other parts of the country.

    The background

    The proposal was first put to Lambeth officers last April during the public consultation on the Council’s proposals for cultural services policy to 2020. It was not taken forward by Council officers who instead put forward their proposal for half of Lambeth’s libraries to become library service points with minimal book and computer provision and no staff, and with three of these to be centred on a gym. Their proposal – set out in the document Culture 2020 – was approved by the Council last October. However Council officers were forced – by popular pressure and the recommendations of  a Council committee – to offer an opportunity to the Libraries manager to develop her proposals.

    The next steps

    The mutual trust proposal is now on the table. Discussions between Ms Barnes and Council officers will take place in January.  As soon as the proposal is made public – we hope before the end of this month – we will email members a link to the document and post it on this website

    The committee of the Friends of Minet Library fully supports Ms Barnes’ proposals. We hope you will too, once you've seen the details.


    Support Minet Library

    A survey of library users is being carried out this week. We would very much appreciate help from volunteers to gather responses. This would entail a couple of hours spent in the library asking people if they would fill in the questionnaire and answering any of their questions as they do so.  If you can help, please go along to Minet Library between 10am and 1pm.

  • 17 Dec 2015 3:25 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    The campaign to save libraries is getting national coverage.  See here for article in The Guardian

  • 14 Dec 2015 5:36 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    On Monday 21st December, there will be an informal gathering at Minet Library to provide an update on the campaign to save this and all other Lambeth Libraries.  Meeting starts at 6pm, with mince pies and mulled wine from 6.30pm.

    We hope to see you there

  • 10 Dec 2015 8:55 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    The campaign to save Lambeth Libraries continues apace and you can find out all about it on this dedicated website


    Friends of Minet Library will provide regular updates on the Minet site too. 

  • 12 Nov 2015 8:39 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    The scrunity committee of Lambeth Council met on Tuesday evening to discuss the proposed Culture 2020 decision.  You can listen to the podcast of the meeting here.

  • 10 Oct 2015 3:46 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)


    As many of you will know, the Friends of Minet Library, working as part of the Minet Hub developed a business plan setting out proposals for Minet Library, to counter a suggestion by Lambeth Council that they should sell the building and move the Archives.  Our business plan was submitted to Lambeth in April. 

    Last Friday, we had early sight of the report that Councillor Jane Edbrooke has created about what should happen to Lambeth libraries.
    You can see a copy of that report here. It will be discussed at the full Council meeting on Monday, 12th October which we understand will place at Dunraven School in Streatham. We will keep the Minet website updated with these details.

    Their proposal for Minet Library is frankly very disappointing - it seems they want it to be run as a gym with a few books on the side.  They will move the Archives and there will be no library staff at Minet so no film club, reading groups or other valued events any longer.  If we lose the library, we loose a much loved public amenity so we must do everything we can to prevent this from happening. 


    We would urge you all to tell our Councillors how you feel about this. Please send them your comments:;; and to, the architect of this absurd plan.


    Please also come to a meeting at Minet Library on Monday 19th October, 7-8pm. and help us plan what we can do next to save the library.

    You can also support the wider Save Lambeth Libraries campaign by:

    • Signing Save Lambeth Libraries petition 
    • Joining the demonstration: Monday 12th at 6.30pm outside the Council meeting at Dunraven School
    • Spreading the word to gather support for keeping libraries in Lambeth
  • 21 Apr 2015 10:21 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Lesley-Ann Jones reading from her book on Marc Bolan at the #SaveMinetLibrary event on Monday 20th

    Thank you to all those who came along last night to the Minet Library to bolster the efforts of local residents and users to keep the Library and Archives open at 52 Knatchbull Road. 

    It was heartening to see more than 80 people at the event, all willing to add their voice to our campaign to save the Library and Archives from proposed closure. This visible and active support, along with the 600+ signatures we have gathered,  is vital in helping us make the case for keeping our local library and other important public spaces for the community. 

    We are especially grateful Kate Hoey MP for her stalwart support for the Minet Library and the local area over many years. Many thanks too to our other speakers, particularly Gabriel Gbadamosi and Lesley-Ann Jones for their wonderful readings and to Kingsley Abrams (former Vassall ward councillor) for his active endorsement of our @MinetLibrary #SaveMinetLibrary campaign.   

    Last night’s meeting was also a chance to remind people to sign the petition to save Minet Library and to complete an on-line questionnaire, ahead of the Council’s consultation deadline this Friday 24th April. 

    The closure of Minet Library is just one of the proposals from Lambeth Council in their Culture 2020 proposal. You can still respond to the Culture2020 consultation, but all responses must be submitted no later than 11pm on Friday 24th April.

© Copyright

Minet Hub 
Minet Conservation Association

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management