“LIBRARY WILL NOT SURVIVE ON £100,000 A YEAR” WARNS NORWOOD SOCIETY CHAIRMAN – “Closure would be disaster for local community”
Upper Norwood library “will not survive” on funding of £100,000 a year, says Norwood Society chairman Richard Lines.
His warning comes in a letter to Croydon’s three Upper Norwood ward councillors Pat Ryan, Alisa Flemming and John Wentworth.
“Last Friday’s ‘Croydon Advertiser’ (March 13th) has a picture of smiling councillors presenting a cheque to the chairman of the Library Trust last November under a headline ‘Library’s future in doubt as councils cut its budget’.
“It is clear that Upper Norwood library will not survive, even with reduced staff and three days a week opening, with only £100,000 a year funding from Croydon and Lambeth together.”
Writing as both an Upper Norwood resident and as Norwood Society chairman Mr Lines adds: “Upper Norwood library is unique in the country as being funded jointly by two local authorities and has been in existence for 115 years.
“Even in our digital age the printed book is still important to our culture. “Closure of the Upper Norwood Library would be a disaster for the local community.
“It would be particularly serious for many elderly people and young children who cannot easily travel to libraries in the centre of Croydon and Lambeth to use library facilities.
“But the loss of an important cultural centre in the heart of Norwood would be a major blow to the whole community.
“The Norwood Society, as an amenity and local history society for the area, has much of its collection of archives housed in the library and holds monthly local history meetings there which attract good attendance.
“I believe that some people may have been persuaded to vote Labour in the last borough elections by the promise to restore cuts in library funding made by the previous administration, so the new cuts by both councils are very disappointing.
“I appreciate the severe pressures on local government spending and the constant need to find savings.
“Spending on cultural matters like libraries is only a tiny proportion of a local council’s spending.
“I want to ask what Upper Norwood councillors and Croydon council as a whole are prepared to do to assist the trust in seeking alternative funding that will enable Upper Norwood library to stay open and to thrive in the future.
“I am copying this email to Croydon North MP Steve Reed in view of the importance of the subject.”