Every library in Lambeth is to remain open and significant investment will be made available to improve buildings and introduce new technology, under plans that are set to be agreed by senior councillors next week.
In contrast to other areas where councils have announced library closures, Lambeth Council is to confirm next week that it plans to keep open all its libraries.
It will mean that Lambeth will continue to be home to 10 libraries.
It will also make available capital investment to improve facilities. The funding will help to improve run down library buildings and introduce new technology such as wi-fi and self service facilities, bringing libraries into the 21st century.
Now the council’s cabinet will given formal endorsement for a plan that will see a number of libraries open 7-days a week and significant investment made to end “40 years of under investment”.
The council will also work with local residents and community groups so they can get more involved in taking key decisions about how their library should be run and what services it should provide. Under its ‘Cooperative Libraries’ plan, the council is already working closely with local groups interested in taking a more active role in a number of local libraries.
Cllr Sally Prentice, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet for Culture, said: “Where other councils have closed libraries, Lambeth has protected library services in every part of the borough by working with the local community, despite government cuts of over £90million. We are opening a brand new library in Clapham, the first new library in Lambeth for forty years.
“I would like to thank all the Lambeth residents who took part in the consultation and shared their views on the library service. We will now be working with residents and Library Friends Groups to decide how individual library budgets will be spent and how services will be developed and run in the future.
“This is what our Cooperative Council plans are all about – empowering local people to make decisions about the services they use.”
Lambeth Council’s cabinet will formally agree a plan that will see:
All libraries remain open
Three libraries, Clapham, Brixton and Streatham, open 7-days a week Continued commitment to fund the Independent Upper Norwood Joint Library.
Consideration given to moving Waterloo Library, which is currently in a temporary building, to a more suitable permanent home, following consultation with the local community and library users.
An options appraisal commissioned that looks at the possibility of moving Streatham Library out of its current building and relocated to the modern Gracefield Gardens buildings. The current building is more than 120 years old, and the council wants to discuss with users the possibility of moving the library to the more modern and accessible space in Gracefield Gardens. Local residents will be consulted before any decisions are taken on this and a further report will be brought to cabinet in September.
The plans follow a major consultation with local residents that took place earlier this year which saw more than 1,500 local residents give their views about libraries in the borough.
Lambeth Council needs to find £94 million of savings over four years due to government cuts. The libraries share of these savings is £750,000 over the next two years.
The council is already making considerable savings by reducing costs and overheads. Lambeth has been developing a vision for the service that would make the required savings of £750,000, be financially sustainable, while improving the appeal and popularity of libraries among residents. Ultimately, the plans aim to create a more modern library service in improved buildings, where people have more power and control over the key decisions affecting them.
Cabinet will discuss the report at its meeting on July 9th. To see the full cabinet report visit http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=225&MId=8105