UPPER NORWOOD JOINT LIBRARY: “WE NEED TO FIND OUT EXACTLY HOW MUCH IS ON OFFER” – STEVE REED MP
“LEVEL OF FUNDING MAY NOT BE ENOUGH FOR TRUST TO RUN LIBRARY” – HELEN HAYES MP
MPs Steve Reed and Helen Hayes have both raised concerns over the future funding of Upper Norwood joint library in letters to campaigners.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed has told the Norwood Society he shares their concerns that the level of funding which is now on offer from Lambeth council – to be matched by Croydon – will impact on the libraries service.
“We need to find out exactly how much is on offer, and be sure that it is enough to fund a proper library service” adds Mr Reed, Labour MP for Croydon North.
Norwood Society chairman Richard Lines says: “I appreciate the difficulty both Lambeth and Croydon have in funding proper library services, but I hope Helen Hayes and Steve Reed will do all they can to persuade both councils to keep this unique library going in a manner that will be acceptable to the residents of this very special community in Crystal Palace.
“Three generations of my family have been and are members of UNJL. including our two-year-old granddaughter who joined in the summer while on an extended visit to Upper Norwood and joined in activities there at least once a week, as well as borrowing lots of books.
“The Norwood Society through its committee and members will do all it can to support the library campaign and the trust.”
Steve Reed’s email to the Norwood Society chairman reads as follows:
Dear Mr Lines,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the Upper Norwood library, I share your concerns.
The joint funding of the Upper Norwood Library by both Lambeth and Croydon for more than 100 years is a model of cross-borough co-operation that benefits the entire community of Crystal Palace. Residents in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood have consistently made clear their support for a properly funded, professionally staffed library in public consultations held by both councils.
I have a long track record of defending the library. As leader of Lambeth council, before being elected MP for Croydon North, I protected Lambeth’s share of funding even after Croydon Tories slashed theirs, and I said no when Croydon’s ruling Tories demanded the library building should be sold off.
Upon becoming our MP, I have worked with both councils and local residents supporting the development of a trust to run the library. In 2014, when Croydon council became Labour again I lobbied the new administration to make sure that they continued to match the Lambeth’s funding and put the library back into Croydon Council’s constitution – after it was removed by the previous Tory administration.
Like you, I am concerned that the level of funding which is now on offer from Lambeth council, to be matched by Croydon, will impact on the libraries service. We need to find out exactly how much is on offer, and be sure that it is enough to fund a proper library service.
The trust is working to ensure that parts of the library which are currently under-utilised, such as the second floor, have new activities brought into them, by using it as a children’s centre, something which I think would continue to see the library as a community hub whilst diversifying its usage.”