Anticipating a larger than usual turnout, Lambeth Council has switched Monday’s meeting to Dunraven School in Streatham, where it will discuss, and doubtless then rubber-stamp in its usual “co-operative” manner, its proposals to close half of the borough’s libraries – including the “decommissioning” of Upper Norwood Library, which it has run jointly with Croydon for more than a century.
The Norwood Society describes Labour-run Lambeth’s plans for Upper Norwood as “the most dire threat of closure of all times”.
“Proposals are underway in April 2016 to ‘decommission’ Upper Norwood Library service, as well as all other libraries that Lambeth deem to be ‘neighbourhood’ libraries,” said Barbara Thomas of Norwood Society’s local history group.
“‘Decommissioning’ means no permanent staff, and thus little service.”
The Upper Norwood Library holds what Thomas describes as “an invaluable collection” of local history resources which The Norwood Society depends on for research..
Thomas is asking those who support Upper Norwood Library to attend Monday’s meeting to lobby Lambeth councillors. Being staged in Streatham, the meeting should be handy for Steve Reed OBE, who knows the area well, and has Upper Norwood Library in his MP’s constituency. Reed has regularly argued for proper funding for Upper Norwood Library.
The meeting is from 6.30pm on October 12 at Dunraven School, 94-98 Leigham Court Road, SW16 2BQ. The 437 from Crystal Palace stops outside.
Thomas continues, “The Upper Norwood Library is more than 115 years old and has existed this long because it is the valued centre of our community. So please come and show your support enabling it to continue to serve our community for years to come.
“The Library Trust has negotiated a temporary agreement until April 2016, but the withdrawal of guaranteed funding from Lambeth and Croydon brings into question the viability of these plans. We see our library as a ‘town centre’ library which should be funded accordingly.”
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