22 Feb 2012 Letter from Lambeth Council on Library Funding
Cllr Reed has asked me to respond on his behalf as this matter falls under my responsibility as Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and 2012 Games. I attended the Upper Norwood Joint Library public meeting on Wednesday 30 November along with local Lambeth Labour councillors Matthew Bennett, Niranjan Francis, and Jane Pickard. Attending the meeting I got an overwhelming sense of the support there is for this much loved local library and it was good to see many residents there. Lambeth Council has rejected Croydon’s ultimatum over the future of the Upper Norwood Joint Library.
I am outraged that Croydon’s Tory councillors are trying to close down the Joint Library, funded together by Croydon and Lambeth councils, after over 100 years in existence. In their latest letter to Lambeth Council, Croydon told Lambeth to accept one of three options, each of which would result in the closure of the popular community library. Lambeth has rejected all three options and told Croydon to get back round the negotiating table to find a way to save the Joint Library. Lambeth is proposing a new option to save the library in line with a deal that has secured the future of every single library in Lambeth. Croydon, in contrast, is planning to privatise their libraries. Under our proposals, both councils would work with local community and library-user groups in Upper Norwood to hand control over the library service and, potentially, ownership of the building to them. Funding would be guaranteed by the councils whose residents use the library, with decisions over how to spend it taken by local people.
We urge Councillor Fisher to abandon their destructive closure plans and sit down with us and the local community to find a way to protect this much-loved library for future generations and guarantee its place at the heart of the community.