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.