From 1 July this year, Upper Norwood Joint Library (UNJL) building will be run by the Upper Norwood Library Trust – members of the local community who have a real passion and commitment to the library.
Back in 2010, Gipsy Hill’s Labour councillors blocked the Tory administration in Croydon’s plans to cut, close and sell the library building. We’ve been working with local people who are passionate about the library to secure its future and we stood for re-election in 2014 on a pledge to secure the future of the library in the hands of the local community.
The Trust and Lambeth Council have been talking for years about how best to transfer the library to the community and, while it has at times been a frustrating process, the vision for the future now looks bright.
Lambeth and the Upper Norwood Library Trust are confident that the new arrangement will provide a great service hosted by, and run for, the local community in Upper Norwood – and at a more sustainable cost to the council, which is facing severe budget pressures because of deep cuts to Lambeth’s budget by the Tory government.
The Trust will be working to develop a range of cultural and educational activities in the building, which aim to engage the whole community, an endeavour which is being joint funded by both Lambeth and Croydon councils to the tune of £85,000 each.
The library service will still be managed by Lambeth with Lambeth’s library staff providing 35 hours of library staff cover per week for two years, with a review after a year. This is what the Trust has requested to be able to complete their business model and will assist the Trust whilst they establish the new service.
Money has also been set aside by Lambeth and Croydon to improve the condition of the building so that any improvement work is paid for by the council, so that the library’s future is secure.
The library will continue to run as normal until the transfer on 1 July.
Laura Wright, Chair of Upper Norwood Library Trust said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to have secured a level of professional library staffing within the building over the next two years and thank Lambeth for their desire to support our vision of a thriving community hub with a brilliant library at its heart. We know that both authorities are battling with austerity measures and so we are delighted with this outcome. We will continue to work on behalf of the local community to create a vibrant place for the community to enjoy, with not only a staffed library but new cultural and educational activities”.