Bryher Scudamore, one of the trustees, has told Inside Croydon that she is “delighted” that the Upper Norwood Library Trust has squeezed an additional £50,000 over two years from Lambeth Council for the running of the facility.
Upper Norwood Library, which has been run jointly by Croydon and its northern neighbour borough council for more than 100 years, is under serious threat of closure for lack of proper funding following Lambeth’s “co-operative council’s” recent slash-and-burn approach to its cultural offering, including closing half its public libraries or allowing them to be turned into bookish gyms. Lambeth’s plans have been derided as an “omni-shambles”, and may yet be subject to a court challenge through a Judicial Review.
Under its current Labour council, Croydon has pledged to match Lambeth funding for Upper Norwood, but the serious reductions in budgets faced by both councils may see grants reduced so much as to make some libraries no longer operable with properly trained staff.
Scudamore, a former BBC producer, says she has been using Upper Norwood Library for 60 years and that she joined the Trust and the Save the Library Campaign – which are separate organisations – “to help deliver the vision of a community hub with a professionally staffed neighbourhood library at the centre of the activities”.
On Friday, Upper Norwood Library Trust posted this on its website: “Upper Norwood Library Trust is delighted to announce that, following negotiations with Lambeth Council over the last two months, we have agreed additional funding of £25,000 per annum over the next two years – an extra £50,000 in total.
“This is in addition to the £60,000 per annum already agreed and will be delivered in partnership with Lambeth Council and the London Community Foundation, subject to final due diligence. We will be working closely with Croydon Council over the weeks ahead to align their funding to give us the budget we need to ensure a thriving neighbourhood library and community hub.
“This is a really positive step in the right direction to ensure that we keep our much-loved library at the heart of our community.”
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