Friends of Carnegie Library

Local Christmas Fairs!

It’s Winter Fair and Christmas Bazaar time in the Herne Hill area! Last weekend St Phillip and St James (just off Poplar Walk at Lowden) had their annual Christmas Fair - yet again well attended with lots on.

10 things that are wrong with the Culture2020 proposals for libraries

Actually there are many more than just 10 things wrong with Lambeth Council's proposals to close 2 libraries and cease funding another 3 (including the Carnegie) The following are just some of the more obvious issues:


1. The aims talk about "affordable" facilities for well-being and culture -  perhaps they mean "affordable" in the sense of "affordable housing" - at 80% of the market cost, this is hardly affordable by the people who have the greatest need. Whatever happened to free public services and libraries? Free public libraries have been recognised as a great social benefit for 150 years.



2. They will create a £10m endowment fund from the sales of the Minet and Waterloo libraries, to "promote literacy and the love of reading". This fund is supposed to replace the library budget for the 3 libraries (including the Carnegie) whose council funding will be stopped in 2016. But nowhere is it stated that the fund will actually be ringfenced for these libraries. Instead it will "support charities, social enterprises and community groups in Lambeth".

Carnegie Library under threat as library closures proposed

Major cuts in library services were announced by Lambeth Labour council in proposals made public on the 30th January: closure and sale of the Minet and Waterloo libraries, and ending funding and staff for the Carnegie, Durning and Upper Norwood libraries. Only Clapham, Brixton, Streatham and West Norwood are to be retained as publicly-funded. Despite increasing usage and the 4th-highest number of book issues in Lambeth, the Carnegie would no longer be included in the statutory library provision duty of the council. Instead of public funding, the Carnegie would need to compete with others for funds from an endowment set up with the proceeds of the Minet and Waterloo sales.

These proposals contradict the principles of the Cooperative Library concept (Cooperative Library Services, Lambeth Council, 2012) which emphasised the importance of a professionally-led and comprehensive library service.


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.


The Art of Julia Tant: ‘…put the art where the people are’

An exhibition at Carnegie Library for the month of September 2014.


Julia Tant is a campaigner, writer and artist who lived and worked in Herne Hill, until recently suffering ill health.


Julia did not go to art school until she was 45, and completed her degree in Fine Art & Critical Studies from Central St. Martin’s aged 50. The subject matter of Julia’s work was frequently women, homosexuality, class and children. She helped organise the first women’s liberation conference in the UK.  Julia showed her work in many places, including restaurants and shops as well as galleries.  She believed we should ‘Put the art where the people are, as well as get the people to go where the art is’.

Julia helped save Carnegie Library from threatened closure in 1999.


The exhibition is open during library opening hours until the end of September.


There were a tremendous number of places to visit in SE London alone during the London-wide Open House weekend in September ... one place we made sure to spend time in was the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill, endowed by the Scots-American industrialist (one of among 380 library buildings he wholly or partially financed in the UK). An inspired Open House Guide walked us by its many remarkable features - from the old librarian's quarters, the stained glass and Tudor-style windows, the skylights over what used to be the old librarian's desk ... the tiled floor mosaics ... to a gallery in a disused room featuring kids playing chess and Herne Hill photos by Max Rush! We even had a look at the back stacks -- which included a massive collection of vinyl destined (we were told) for the skips and leather-bound books galore! We were then served tea/coffee and biscuits!


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