Lambeth’s 2020 Consultation – an Open Letter to The Friends of Carnegie Library from the Shadow Trust Board

The Carnegie Shadow Trust Board has sent an Open Letter dated 10 February 2015 to the Friends of Carnegie Library concerning the future running of the library.  You can see the letter on the project's website in Project Documents http://carnegiehernehill.org.uk/project-documents/ 

On 30 January 2015 Lambeth launched a consultation on proposals that are designed to achieve a reduction of about £1m in the libraries budget.  The consultation will run until Friday 24 April 2015 and you can find more details on the consultation online at www.lambeth.gov.uk/culture2020consultation 

In short , it is proposed that Carnegie will cease to be a council-run library, and if a serviceis to continue a community organisation will need to step forward and make a pitch to run it. Lambeth propose to sell Waterloo and Minet libraries and use the money to help create a £10m permanent Endowment Fund for the culture and library services.  The four Town Centre libraries will remain fully funded, but the neighbourhood libraries, including Carnegie, will become ‘community-led’ and eligible to bid for limited funding from the new Endowment Fund (estimated at around £400k max per year to share out).  Council funding will be withdrawn from the neighbourhood libraries from 2016 (except that Tate South Lambeth will serve temporarily as a town centre library for the north of the borough pending a decision whether to create a fifth new one there).

Under the proposed model, community hubs, community groups or social enterprises could apply for revenue from the Endowment Fund to help them either (a) to provide a community library directly, or (b) to bring in a partner to deliver the service within their hub.  Lambeth library service would support community libraries through the continued provision of book stock, self-service equipment and other support services.

Future operation of the library at Carnegie.

This is dismal news for Carnegie.  We always envisaged that the library would continue to be operated by Lambeth as a tenant of the new Charitable Trust that would take a transfer of the building from the Council.  Now that Lambeth no longer wishes to operate the library, the situation has fundamentally changed.  We must await the outcome of the public consultation but it is fair to assume Lambeth’s final plan will be unlikely to differ significantly from what is now suggested.  So it is sensible to start planning on that basis.

The Shadow Trust Board has a massive job to do in delivering the Community Hub proposal.  In view of the Friends’ longstanding involvement with the library, and their knowledge of the service, the Friends of Carnegie Library is the obvious community organisation to lead on the future running of the library on the terms outlined in the Council proposals. The Open Letter conveys that position to the Friends.  It also offers our support and assistance if the Friends decide to proceed with a bid.

Carnegie Library Shadow Trust Board