10 November 2015

Library Consultation - Forest Hill Society Response

Lewisham Council are consulting over plans to downgrade Forest Hill library, together with Torridon Road, and Manor House libraries to community libraries. You can read and respond to the full proposals here.

The Forest Hill Society is opposed to these changes and you can read our full response here.

The conclusions are:
1. We are proud of Forest Hill library; the 17% increase in visitors in the last four years, maintaining book borrowing at 94% of 2010 levels, and all the additional services already provided in the building.
2. We accept that, due to cuts in Local Authority funding, there may need to be a reduction in staffing levels in library services.
3. We believe that using volunteers to support existing Lewisham libraries can be a useful way to reduce the impact of these cuts.
4. We recommend that volunteers should be used across all Lewisham managed libraries rather than only in community libraries.
5. We cannot support an increase in hours for the three remaining ‘Hub Libraries’ while staffing levels are being reduced in Forest Hill, Manor House, Torridon Road, and Catford.
6. We expect that borrowing figures will plummet in any community library, as has been demonstrated in five separate libraries across Lewisham.
7. We do not accept that the community library model is suitable for larger libraries (with borrowing levels higher than all five community libraries in the borough put together).
8. We do not believe that a community library in Forest Hill would be capable of supporting library services that are financed by other profit-making services in the space, and as a result library services can only deteriorate in the community library model.

1 comment:

Carole said...

I believe that it is essential to have at least one qualified professional librarian on duty whenever a library is open. In particular, specialist children's librarians should be available when libraries are likely to be visited by children, including schools. Library users need staff who can suggest books for readers seeking advice, and help children and students to find the books they need for their studies. Very unlikely that many volunteers will be able to fulfil these roles, though I accept there are plenty of useful tasks which they could do.