Lambeth Council will take over responsibility for the 112-year-old Upper Norwood Library in a deal with Croydon Council which will safeguard its future which had been threatened with closure.
Up to now the library, which is on the boundary between the two local authorities, had been jointly funded. A decision by Croydon Council to cut its contribution by £100,000 provoked a strong reaction from the local community and led to the setting up of the Upper Norwood Joint Library Campaign.
Under the agreement Croydon Council will transfer to the library building, staff, and agreed budgets to Lambeth.
Lambeth in turn will work with the community-led steering group Upper Norwood Joint Campaign whose aim is to create a new trust which will run the library as “a publicly-funded, professionally staffed service”.
The deal has been welcomed by Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Sally Prentice.
Cllr Prentice said, “I am delighted that Lambeth have been able to save Upper Norwood Library from closure. It’s fantastic news for local residents and guarantees the future of this library which is held in high regard by the community.
“While councils up and down the country are closing libraries, in Lambeth we have protected our libraries and are investing over £7million in new services, working side by side with the community.”
Leader of Lambeth Council Lib Peck said: “This is a victory for local people whose vigorous campaigning has demonstrated that the library is highly valued by the community. It has a proud past and, I am sure, a successful future’’.
The fine print of the agreement is being negotiated but the transfer of assets from Croydon to Lambeth is scheduled to take place over the next few months. Croydon Council has agreed to provide an annual contribution of £75,000, for the next two years. This is renewable under a three-year funding agreement. In contrast, Lambeth’s contribution to the Library will be £170,000 a year.