The Future Of Lambeth's Libraries

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 33 months ago
The Future Of Lambeth's Libraries

Carnegie Library. Photo: Valerie

Plans have been put forward to keep as many of Lambeth's libraries open as possible in the face of budget cuts.

It was originally thought that five of the borough's 10 libraries would close, with at least two of the buildings being sold off. However, new plans will see Greenwich Leisure Limited — the social enterprise company that runs Lambeth’s leisure centres — take on three of the current libraries, running them as not-for-profit healthy living centres.

These centres will be trialled at Carnegie, Minet and Tate South Lambeth libraries, each of which will incorporate library services — although how substantial these will be, remains to be seen.

Minet Library will continue to house Lambeth Archives until a new home is found.

Upper Norwood neighbourhood library, which is currently funded jointly between Lambeth and Croydon councils, will become the borough's first independent community-run library. Both councils will continue to fund it, albeit at a reduced rate.

A new town centre library in West Norwood is expected to include a cinema and cafe, subject to planning permission.

Waterloo Library will close by April 2016 but the plan is to partner with Oasis Charitable Trust to provide a neighbourhood library service at the Oasis Centre on Kennington Road.

No changes will take place to Brixton, Streatham, Clapham and West Norwood town library services.

Read more about the plans on the Lambeth News website. The changes will be discussed at a Lambeth Cabinet Meeting on 12 October.

While councils tend to get bad press for cuts in library and culture funding these days, it's not all gloom and doom. Streatham Tate Library reopened in 2014 after a £1.4million refurbishment, and Camberwell's new library is due to open on 4 November.

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Last Updated 06 October 2015


A library is a quiet place for everyone in the community regardless of their personal attributes, wealth or poverty that includes books, internet, information, entertainment, regardless of who you are or what you look like? .. Teaming up with a potentially smelly gymnasium that could exclude most people except for those that like gymnasiums and can afford to purchase the experience..? This doesn't add up.... The publicised motivation for cutting the library was supposedly the result of a 'lack' of funds..You'd think that the library would be the last place to look for 'savings'. This,in spite of the fact that every one in the locality actually needs the library - education improves our lives

It looks more like a sneaking strategy for private businesses, in this case, a gymnasium, to take over a prime business site for 'improvement'.

Now that business rates are to be collected and kept in the locality, there is more money in the pot to give to the libraries ...How does this add up to cutting them when other councils are building new libraries??? Surely this sounds like a punishment for the general populace of Lambeth. There would be monies from the business rates plus potential EU matching funds...if the council actually wished to look in to the matter with the interests of the general populace in mind. Perhaps it was decided without consultation that we are to be 'library-free'...and rather we are given a personal allocation to buy books..or even better - to go without..?