New layout of main room

Carnegie Library has been refurbished and transformed. Installation of self-service machines has enabled a refit, with the large issue desk replaced by a neat enquiries point. Our librarians now have more time to answer questions and give help. The six public computers have been moved from the centre and the Teen Zone now has its own more private corner. The metal bookshelves have been replaced by smart white ones, laid out to reflect the original sunray design of the main room. Colourful, comfy seating is dotted all around; and there is a long counter for laptop users enjoying the free Wi Fi. The Children’s Library has also been refurbished, with a mix of white book shelves and colourful fun features, plus two dedicated computers.

All new furniture and book shelves is on wheels, so the library is totally flexible and can offer a wider range of activities and events both day and night. This is what the Friends of Carnegie Library have been wanting for a long time. It is just the start of a new era in the library service, with out of hours hire possible for artistic, cultural, learning and entertainment functions. This, combined with other short, medium and long-term income generation, will help secure the library’s future in a time of budget cuts.

There are more exciting developments coming: watch for an announcement of extended opening hours, with the addition of a full day in the near future. What is more, Carnegie, like all Lambeth libraries, will soon have bright signage. So many people are unaware of the library’s existence, its location or the fact it is open. Colourful new banners and signs will alert everyone to all the library offers and welcome people to enter and join. Membership is free – for Southwark residents as well.

These new developments have been initiated by the Library Service in consultation with the Friends. It's an example of what can be achieved by working cooperatively together. If you have not been to the library for awhile, do come to see and enjoy the new look, which is truly stunning. Anyone who does not currently visit or use the library will be impressed by the range of services and activities available, from story time to Silver Surfer computer sessions, to adult literacy clubs, chess club, craft club, reading groups, art exhibitions, tea and gardening afternoons and much more.

We know there has been some confusion about what is happening with Carnegie Library. The orange news sheets recently distributed in Herne Hill did not come from the Friends; nor was the subsequent exercise on ‘options’ for the library building conducted by us. If you want to know what the Friends envisage for the future and how we support the library service, check our website and if you are not already a member, either of the library or the Friends, please come and join us.