HELP US SAVE UPPER NORWOOD LIBRARY!
Introducing the Upper Norwood Library Trust
After many meetings with a wide group of library campaigners and community members, including CPCA and Gipsy Hill Residents’ Association members, it was agreed that the best way to take over the running of a publicly-funded, professionally staffed library was to set up an incorporated charity with a business arm.
We took expert legal advice on this, and we also consulted the staff. We agreed to name the charity The Upper Norwood Library Trust, as it says what it is and keeps the historic name. Please see our Upper Norwood Library Trust page for more information.
The results of our recent survey endorse this decision, with 98% of respondents echoing the community’s response to Croydon Council’s consultation that Upper Norwood must keep its library.
Staying in the spotlight
Meanwhile, we have been making sure the library stays in the spotlight. Candidates from all three main parties have visited the library ahead of the Croydon North by-election, while the Upper Norwood Library Campaign has been ‘highly commended’ as Team of the Year by the Croydon Guardian. Upper Norwood Library also hosted a fundraising folk concert on Thursday 22nd November – you can see the photos here.
With a local by election in Croydon North following the death of Malcolm Wickes, the Library Campaign joined forces with the chamber of commerce and the Transition town team to produce a Virtual question time document which summarised the candidates responses and views on a number of key issues, particularly those impacting Crystal Palace and the library, this was distributed to over 1000 residents.
The winner of the by election was of course Steve Reed, who, in his role as Lambeth council leader, has been a staunch UNJL supporter. Here is the video of his visit to the library in the run up to the by-election.
On 7th September 2012, Croydon Council announced their decision about the future of Upper Norwood Library. They intend to hand the library over to the community to run and are offering funding of £75,000 a year from April 2013.
The decision represents a drop of over £100,000 from Croydon’s current contribution of £187,000. Lambeth Council, who currently fund the library jointly with Croydon, have pledged annual funding of £170,000.
The decision followed the council’s consultation with the local community which, as expected, showed overwhelming support for keeping Upper Norwood Library open, in its current position, and run as an independent body. You can see the breakdown of the responses on the council’s website here.
UNLC initial response
Below is the campaign’s initial response to the announcement. If, having read it and got a fuller picture of the current situation, you feel you would like to contribute some time to the setting up of the trust, please do get in touch with us. The group is particularly in need of people with skills in finance, business and the third sector.
We welcome Croydon Council’s recognition that the people of Crystal Palace should be served by their own library and that the council’s intention is no longer to shut the library.
However, while the community may have won one battle, it has not won the war because Croydon Council is proposing an even bigger cut than many had feared.
A new organisation, The Upper Norwood Library Trust, is being created in order to take forward discussions with both Croydon and Lambeth Councils which could lead to the local community taking over the governance of the library, working with professional staff and funding from both local authorities.
We will be consulting the community about what this could mean and would welcome new members to the group.
It would be premature to say much more until the proposals have been fully scrutinised and the views of stakeholders including the local community, Lambeth and the library staff have been taken into consideration.
IN A NUTSHELL: The 112-year-old Upper Norwood Library is facing closure because Croydon Council unilaterally announced the end of the joint agreement that governs the library with Lambeth Council from March 31st 2012.
A unique independent library
For 112 years, Upper Norwood has had the UK’s only independently run, publicly funded library. Its services are used by thousands of people from five London Boroughs – an incredible 44% of the local catchment area are regular library users. Watch Croydon TV to hear the views of the local residents.
The campaign has also received positive media coverage during the London mayoral election debate on LBC Radio on 19 April and on the The Robert Elms Weekend Londoner show on Radio London.
Upper Norwood Library is recognized as the most cost-efficient London library, yet it is in grave danger of being closed down as Croydon Council are unwilling to continue the 112 year old agreement that has served the local community so well.
Browse this site to read about our campaign and the efficiency and independence that makes Upper Norwood Library a unique and treasured local resource. Please support us by signing our petitions, joining our Facebook Group and following us on Twitter. Take some time to read AWICS Independent review of Upper Norwood Library for an independent study of Upper Norwood Library and a comparison with other local library services.
The ‘Save Upper Norwood Library Campaign 2012′ video below features local residents’ views of the benefits of this successful library model.
The library is much-loved and the only independent public library in this country. We invite you to join the campaign and get involved in setting up the community trust which will ensure its survival.