01 April 2016

Changes to services at the Minet library

Today sees a set of changes to the Minet library following Lambeth council’s Culture 2020 review.

As Vassall View reported earlier this year, Lambeth council is facing drastic government cuts of 56% since 2010, with an estimated £238 million removed from the borough’s budget by 2018. The council took the decision in its recent budget to protect core services to extremely vulnerable residents, such as the award winning violence against women and girls unit and its council tax support scheme (which helps 30,000 residents a year in Lambeth). However, this approach means that other savings will need to be made in the borough’s library service.

The changes occurring today include:

  • No change to the services, staffing or opening hours at the borough’s four largest libraries which receive the majority of the borough’s library visitors, including Brixton library near Vassall.
  • Services will be reduced at the borough’s other libraries, including Waterloo and Canergie, with longer term changes also planned for Durning and Tate South Lambet.
  • The Minet library will see its services change from today, access will continue as normal to Lambeth’s Archives which will remain on site and residents will be able to return any existing books they have or order new books from the site.
  • The library service at Minet will close from today and will then reopen in early 2017 as a healthy living centre with a self-service library that will continue to have books, study space and computer access for residents. Alongside this there will be a new gym, run by not for profit social enterprise GLL, which will offer rates at council level subscriptions for local residents.

Speaking about the changes, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, cabinet member for cultural services said:

“These changes have been prompted by the government cutting our funding, which has left us needing to make £238 million in savings between April 2010 and 2018. There’s no way we can avoid this having an impact, and means we have to change the way we do things. These cuts are completely unacceptable and unwarranted, and Lambeth Labour councillors have been highlighting consistently the devastating impact they will have on our community.

The changes we are making to our libraries will mean the borough focusing its limited resources where they can have the most impact. As a result, we are maintaining our town centre libraries at Brixton, Clapham (newly opened in 2012), West Norwood and Streatham.  For our other libraries, we have to make changes to the way the services run to ensure we can keep the buildings open and that they continue to have a library service.

“Following feedback, we have changed our original proposals which were to sell the Minet building, especially after taking into account the views of local councillors who lobbied strongly against this idea. We believe the current proposals mean we keep services in one place and from 2017 the Minet will remain a space that the community can use.”

If residents want more information about these changes, they can find it here or call 020 7926 0750 or email libraries@lambeth.gov.uk.