Lewisham Library bid event, April 12th

Lewisham Council is organising an event for people interested in the fate of local libraries on April 12th, 4-8pm, Civic Suite, Catford:

Lewisham Council is currently inviting bids from enterprising organisations that are interested in taking on the management of one or more of four library buildings earmarked for closure, including Crofton Park, Grove Park, New Cross and Sydenham libraries.

Lewisham Council recognises the broader role that library buildings can play within communities, as a meeting place, a source of community information and focus for community activity. Therefore, before a decision on which organisation should be recommended to take on a lease for each building, the Council will assess the proposed use of the building and associated community benefits including plans for community library services. As part of this assessment the Council is holding a Community Interest Event to enable local residents to view the proposals and comment on them. A representative from each organisation will be present as well as key council officers.

The event will be held in the Civic Suite, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford SE6 4RU. The event runs from 4-8pm and residents are invited to drop in at anytime during those four hours to view the displays, speak to the organisation representatives and council officers and leave their comments.

Karen Jonason, of the Save Crofton Park Library Campaign says:

Our preferred bidder for Crofton Park is Darren Taylor of Eco Computer Systems, who has established a community library at the Pepys Resource Centre, Deptford Strand.

He is the only bidder who has sought contact with community groups and has consulted with residents. He is also committed to retaining the current library services in their entirety, indeed expanding them as funds allow. Lewisham Council will support transition. It is intended to employ at least one librarian initially.

The bid has been informed by our vision for the library. We have met regularly with Darren since January to formulate the bid and on Saturday 2nd April held a very successful public meeting, attended by over 50 residents. Endorsement of the bid was unanimous and large numbers took copies of the volunteer recruitment sheets.

Volunteers will be trained by Lewisham Library Service. Lewisham will continue to supply books, outreach sevices, and will install self-issue machinery.

4 comments:

Tamsin said...

That's excellent about Eco Computer Systems - I hope they are successful. The Pepys Resource Centre was where the boxes of books that were left over from the Crisis sales in January and February ended up. And, as chance would have it, they were in the middle of an open day when we took them over there. A great buzz.

BookWorm said...

Will there be a joining fee,or how will it be paid for ?

Anonymous said...

See alsoJames Holland
James HollandApril 4, 2011 at 9:51am
Subject: New Cross Library Mon 11th April 7pm All Saints Community Centre
The Council have announced the closure of New Cross Library for 28th May, at the same time they also continued an apparently open process of bidding to take over the library. However, in reality, they had already made their mind up about who was going to take them over. Darren Taylor is ‘social entrepreneur’ who has been running a kind of library on the Pepys estate in Deptford for a few months subsidised by his computer recycling firm Eco Computers, he offered to take on 4 of the libraries due for closure.

There are many problems with this deal but to sum up he seems to be prepared to allow council to provide no financial contribution to the running of the library or making the repairs that are needed after the years of neglect, it’s not exactly clear who would actually hold the lease and it allows the council to continue with its plan to make librarians redundant. He also seems ready to allow the council to continue to use the basement of the building for storage, rather than making this available for community use. All the these things can easily be improved as the next best deals for the council must have cost them tens of thousands of pounds per year. It’s also a pretty shoddy way to transfer such an important asset with little or no community involvement and has a whiff of paternalistic victorian philanthropy about it.

On the positive side the suggested governance structure allows members of the community to run the library pretty much as they see fit, there will be one paid library manager, the library will be open twice as much as it was and all he wants in return for his ‘gift’ of approx £20k PA from eco computers is that the library becomes a drop off point for people to leave old computers for him to recycle.

Although the deal has all but been done, the next few weeks will see negotiations in which the all important details are finalised.

The question is - should we get involved in the final negotiations to improve the deal and make it work for the community, let it happen but don't support it or actively oppose it and try to stop the deal?

We intend to discuss this at 7pm All Saints Community Centre on Mon 11th April as part of http://www.facebook.com/l/bdd27f8waXXOZhXzOrFuFWyk5Dw/www.thefutureofnewcross.wordpress.com/

Unknown said...

Dear All,

Thank you to everyone who turned up to the open meeting where people could asks questions about Eco Computers bid for Crofton Library.

Just would like to reply to the comments, and if you have any other questions please do come to the open meeting between 4pm and 8pm at the civic suite on the 12th April.

BookWork - There will be no fees to be paid except the same charges which the library charge. Only difference is if you print on the other side of used paper the price is reduced.

Regarding James Holland Comments - Our bid has always been open, and I have talked at Assembly meetings, I had an open meeting last week, where 61 local people turned up to ask questions.

Lewisham Council has not made their minds up, it is an open bid. Mine is well known because I have been busy getting other not for profit making companies involved and the local community.

The building will not be transferred to us, it will be a long term lease.

We will be clearing the basement out, but want to make sure there is not anything that can be reused and then the basement will be used for community use.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at darren@ecocom.org.uk

or if not hope to see you on Tuesday between 4pm and 8pm.

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