UPPER NORWOOD LIBRARY: JUST “A SMALL SELECTION OF BOOKS” AND REDUCED OPENING HOURS UNDER ‘NEIGHBOURHOOD’ PLANS
NEXT MONDAY’S LAMBETH CABINET MEETING
has been moved to Dunraven school, 94-98 Leigham Court Road
PLANS TO turn Upper Norwood joint library into a “neighbourhood library” have far, far more major repercussions than at first sight.
A full read of the libraries section of documents going to Lambeth council’s cabinet next Monday October 12th shows the library will have:
- LESS books: “the neighbourhood library service will offer a small selection of books”
- LESS childrens’ books: “the neighbourhood library …will provide a small selection of books” says the report. In one of many “mitigating actions”, “a reduced children’s book offer will be available”
- LESS opening hours – and that Upper Norwood might even become a “healthy living centre” with neighbourhood library included.
- There will also be a self-service machine “providing residents with access to borrowing a reduced selection of books as well as the ability to return them.
- “Lambeth council will also be deciding what readers at Upper Norwood and four other “neighbourhood libraries” can read:
- “Book stock in the neighbourhood libraries will be planned and managed by Lambeth library service to reflect local need, culture and language” says the report.
- Upper Norwood would be decommissioned by April 2016 and replaced by the neighbourhood library service – with the Upper Norwood library trust taking over in July 2016.
- Nowhere in the report – “Safe and interesting spaces (libraries)” at appendix 2 (a) written by Donna Wiggins, “lead commissioner Healthier for Longer” – does it say what redundancies will occur, what will happen to the much-loved library staff or how much the costs of any redundancies will be.
The report merely says: “There will be no permanent Lambeth library staff for the libraries opening hours.”
- What the report does say is that the library service “will continue to build opportunities for residents to volunteer in the service to increase opening hours where demand exists, as well as “diversifying and broaden (sic) access to services at library buildings to increase usage and to deliver the outcome people are healthier for longer. (Lambeth italics)
“Space will be continue to be made available for the provision of parent and toddler sessions in the neighbourhood libraries” says the report – without saying who will be running them.
Under separate headings the report refers to the Minet and Carnegie libraries – which would also be decommissioned by April 2016 – being transformed into a healthy living centre providing a gym, neighbourhood library service” and other facilities.
There is no mention of this under Upper Norwood, Waterloo or Tate South Lambeth.
But the next page – listing all five libraries – says: “When re-opened as healthy living centres access to the neighbourhood library service will be coterminous with the opening hours in each healthy living centre.”
And while the opening hours for the Minet, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth will be 70 under the new model – all increased from between 34 and 39 hours – Upper Norwood will DECREASE its hours from 30.5 to 28.5. (Waterloo, in a new shared building which the report calls ‘library offer’, would increase from 31.4 to 45)
Nowhere in the report does it say in any great detail what people said in the feedback from the consultation*. Nowhere in the report does it say how much is being set aside in funds for gym equipment.
The report says the proposals seek to deliver a service which is ‘comprehensive and efficient’ which is required under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 while also achieving savings of xxx (not given – Ed) as a contribution to the overall reduction in the cultural services budget.
“The proposals overall are intended to have as positive an impact as possible given the context of reduced resources.”
The report – titled Culture 2020 – “sets out proposals for the delivery of an integrated, holistic approach to preventing poor health, which utilises the borough’s culture, physical and sports assets to secure (sic) people are healthier for longer.
“No matter where you live in Lambeth you should be within 20 minutes average walking time from somewhere you can enjoy affordable activities, which will improve your health and wellbeing.
“Each neighbourhood library is within a reasonable distance of a town centre library either on foot, public transport or private car.”
Under the proposals the existing Waterloo library would close and “in mitigation” Lambeth will partner Oasis Charitable Trust to provide a “library offer” at the Oasis centre at 1 Kennington Road SE1 from May 2016
Plans to have Tate South rather than Durning as the fifth town centre library have now been amended. Durning will be the fifth town centre once “consultation” (November 2nd to November 27th) has taken place.
- *A separate report admits: “In the main people were broadly positive about the vision and all the proposals set out as part of the consultation, with the exception of the libraries proposals which were more likely to be opposed than supported.”
The cabinet is meeting at Dunraven school, Leigham Court Road SW16 (changed from the Karibu centre, Gresham Road Sw9) at 6.30pm.
In an appendix in the reports to the cabinet – which includes Cllrs Jennifer Brathwaite and Matthew Bennett, members for Gipsy Hill ward in which the library stands – four common concerns about library proposals are listed, including “an over-reliance on unaccountable volunteers and lack of professional staff.”
The appendix, headed Lambeth library service standards revision September 2015, under the section volunteers: 17.1 states: “The Lambeth library service shall not use volunteers to replace core duties of Lambeth library staff.
Where volunteers are used they shall:
have a designated person to report to and supervise their work;
have clear written roles and responsibilities provided;
meet the legal requirements in relation to the role being undertaken;
be provided with induction training for volunteers; and
be provided with appropriate training.”
NOTE: News From Crystal Palace only had a chance to read some of the report before publishing our story on Friday evening.