Upper Norwood Library Trust response to Lambeth Council’s culture proposals.

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Following the announcement of Lambeth Council’s proposals for cultural services, the Upper Norwood Library Trust sets out their position.

“We want to create a library fit for the 21st century and while we completely understand that local councils are struggling under extremely difficult financial cuts, we are continuing to negotiate the best outcome for Upper Norwood Library,” says Laura Wright, Chair of Upper Norwood Library Trust.

UNLT has set out their position. They are committed to working with Lambeth and Croydon councils to ensure that the residents of Crystal Palace continue to have access to a local library service.

They say, “We established a charitable trust in order to work with Lambeth and Croydon Councils with a view to taking over the running of the library building and turning it into a community learning hub.

“We submitted a detailed business plan to Lambeth and Croydon councils detailing how we proposed this could operate.

“Following conversations with Lambeth we remain committed to our plans.

The principles that underpin our proposal remain as follows, and form the basis within which we have agreed to take over the running of the library, and will negotiate with both Lambeth and Croydon councils:

  • Both councils commit that a professional library service will be maintained and sufficiently funded to serve residents’ needs.
  • We are open to options as to whether the core library service is maintained and managed by Lambeth or by the Trust. The core principle is that it is retained and professionally staffed to continue to serve those who use it.
  • The level of book stock is maintained
  • The library building as an asset is transferred to the community with a view to protecting its use for community based activities, in the long term
  • The asset will be fit for purpose for the community to use, and made so by capital investment from the councils
  • We will work with both councils and other partners to develop a range of new community learning activities within the building, through a mix of income generating and free services. We are already piloting some of this activity in the library. This will enable the hub to become more sustainable in the face of funding reductions
  • We will work to maintain opening hours

As stated by local MP and former Leader of Lambeth Council, Steve Reed, ‘Upper Norwood Joint Library should receive at least the same funding per head of population as equivalent town centre libraries in Lambeth and Croydon.’

Laura Wright, Chair of the Trust said: “We are in conversation with Lambeth and Croydon Councils about how we can create a library for the 21st century for Upper Norwood given the extremely difficult financial climate in which all councils are now operating.

“We know how Challenging the next few months will be. The funding settlement we are able to negotiate with both lambeth and Croydon councils is critical to the success of our plans. We need a fair share of the overall funding proposed to maintain library provision in the borough based on the size of Upper Norwood Joint Library and its current membership base. As such, after three years of talks and planning with both councils, we are continuing to work hard to try and get the best deal possible for local residents in order to ensure our fantastic library remains open.”

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