Lambeth council has launched a three month public consultation on the borough’s libraries, parks, leisure and cultural services.
Among the ideas put forward are to sell Waterloo and Minet libraries which have the lowest usage rates in Lambeth. Money raised from the sale would be used to set up a £10m endowment fund to secure the future of community libraries across the borough. The council plans to stop its core funding of library services at Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood Joint Library which would instead be supported by the new Lambeth Libraries Fund.
Echoing the report by the Lambeth Library Commission in 2012, the council wants to encourage greater involvement from volunteers, community and friends’ groups who could influence the range of services and opening hours. There are plans for libraries to become ‘incubators’ for enterprise and education schemes as well as a purpose built digital learning space with Wi-Fi, PCs and docking stations incorporated into the refurbishment of Brixton Rec.
Cllr. Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods said: “Libraries are essential safe spaces for everyone and anyone to explore, to investigate and dream. We are committed to that but we have to face the reality of these drastic cuts to our budget. Lambeth is blessed with a great range of stuff to do, fantastic cultural and social assets that include libraries but to secure their future, we have to be ambitious about how they’re run and how they could be better. Selling Minet and Waterloo libraries will give us a pot of money to support community libraries so this is an opportunity to be bold with ideas whether that’s going digital or sharing space to generate income.”
The council is facing unprecedented cuts to its core funding and has to save £90 million by 2018 that includes £4.5m from its cultural services budget.
There are proposals to increase the number of big events to raise income to support Lambeth’s parks and open spaces, bringing sound levels in line with the rest of London and expanding community management of parks.
There’ll be a series of events across the borough between now and April 24th and details of the consultation and how to make your views known can be found at http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/consultations/cultural-services-by-2020