A site for residents of Prince's Ward, SE11, in the London Borough of Lambeth. Check for updates from your Labour Action Team's campaigning, local information, and meetings.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Library Commission reports - future of the Durning Library

Lambeth's Library Commission have now published their report and the good news is that the Durning Library is not going to be closing.

We know that some residents have been worried about the library due to the closures of other libraries up and down the country and so we wanted to reassure you that this is not something that the council is considering.

You can download the report from Lambeth's website.

Lambeth Libraries Commission

The Lambeth Libraries Commission was established in May 2011 to undertake a detailed review of the library services within the borough.

On the Durning, the Commission say they 'strongly urge the community to consider the state of the building and the capital investment needed (£750k - £2m) as to whether the existing building is still fit to offer a modern library service and can keep pace with the demands of an increasingly technology based service.'

The report goes on to say that, 'The Commission recommends that citizens are involved in the co-production of a library service at the earliest opportunity. The local community will ultimately make any decisions regarding the relocation of the service.'

The Council’s Response

On 21 November the Cabinet is expected to make recommendations about the Commission Report. The two most important ones for the Durning are:

· Give greater control to communities around each existing library to co-produce their future library service. This includes decisions on which location is the most appropriate place from which to run an accessible and effective service given the resources available. There is no presumption that any area with a library service will lose it.

· Considers transferring library management and/or buildings to community-led organisations in each locality if consultation with local people shows that is the preferred option and if there is local capacity to take on such a commitment.

The council will start a consultation process in the near future on the new model the commission has recommended and I will certainly let you know when that happens so you can participate.

Your local Councillors’ Response

As your local councillors we have been steadfast in our support for maintaining a library in Kennington. We submitted a response to the Commission, which you can view here, and we have been working with other Labour councillors to ensure that the report reflects the hopes of the Durning Library users.

Moving forward, we shall ensure that you are kept informed about the future consultation process. We shall also be working closely with the Friends of the Durning Library to ensure that we can be one of the first areas to make decisions about the kind of service we want in Kennington.

What Kind of Library Do You Want?

As the Cabinet report makes clear the local community will make decisions about the library service in Kennington.

Would you like the library to remain at the Durning, even with £2m worth of improvements needed? Or is there another location you think would be better for a library?

What services should the library offer? Should it only offer the services it currently does or a wider range? Should we seek to move other services in there? Perhaps a cashiers desk to replace the local parking shop and where you can go to pay rent or council tax?

And finally, who should own the library? Should it remain in council ownership or should we convert it into a trust that is owned and operated by the local community? We have just done something similar with the Black Prince Trust so would this work for the Durning?

The Next Steps

If you are interested in the future of a library service in Kennington then you could take the following steps:

Read the commission report and the cabinet papers

· Have a think about all the issues raised in the report and in this email and start to think about what kind of service you want

· Participate in the council consultation and also the local consultations the Friends of the Durning will be running.

· Join the Friends of the Durning Library. If you care about libraries then you should join this worthwhile group. It is only £3 per year. Just pop into the library and ask to join.

Pictured: local councillors Steve Morgan, Lorna Campbell and Mark Harrison have been standing up for the Durning Libary.

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