Showing posts with label library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label library. Show all posts

30 August 2023

Children's Book Sale

The Forest Hill Society will be running a book sale for second-hand children's books on 23rd September outside Forest Hill Library from 10am-2pm.

We already have lots of donated books, but if you have additional children's books in a good condition that you would like to donate, please bring them to the library before 17th September.

All funds raised will go towards supporting the library, but even more importantly, we will get books to local children to increase reading.

31 March 2023

Children's Book Sale - 29th April

The Forest Hill Society will be running a book sale for second hand children's books on 29th April outside Forest Hill Library from 10am-4pm.

All funds raised will go towards supporting the library, but even more importantly, we will get books to local children to increase reading.


27 March 2022

Forest Hill Library update

By John Firmin

Forest Hill Community library is emerging from coronavirus restrictions in good shape. Now open seven days a week, footfall each month is around 6,500 and while this is below the level before the pandemic, the recovery is faster than at other Lewisham libraries. Group meetings have resumed with the popular Rhyme time for the under 5’s at 10am on Tuesdays and children’s origami on one Saturday each month.

Throughout the pandemic, the library continued to receive a steady stream of new books from Lewisham libraries especially in the children’s section, which continues to account for the majority of book borrowing. More children completed the summer reading challenge at Forest Hill than at any other library in the borough. This year, children were asked to review the books they read and post their reviews in the library. Forest Hill accounted for almost half the reviews posted in all Lewisham libraries. Well done to our younger readers! For older children and students, the library provides a safe space to study after school.

Good use continues to be made of the computers available to the public in the adult section. This service is vital to people without access to the internet at home when most job vacancies require on-line searches. If this applies to you, the volunteers at the library are ready to help you use the computers there.

Most recently, the community library was successful in two NCIL bids: £2,900, which will be used to redecorate and refurbish the busy children’s library; and £2,075 for developing room at the rear of the library.  This will be divided in two to provide a dedicated space for community use and hire and a smaller space for volunteers.  Work on both projects will be completed this year.  Additionally, Library Garden is receiving £9,451, which will enable it to complete landscaping work including raised beds and a seating area”.

The Library Garden Group is continuing to carve out a productive vegetable and dye garden from the space behind Forest Hill Library. The dye garden proved fruitful last Summer and enabled the project stewards to run a series of natural fabric dyeing and sewing workshops.

Through seed sowing and planting out dye plant plugs, the garden was full of bright, profusely flowering, annuals and perennials. There were over 50 sunflowers, ranging from the simple yellow to a Hopi black, and our tallest, at 3.05m won London Harvest Festival's Tallest Sunflower competition. The first raised vegetable bed was completed last Autumn, and planted up with onions, garlic and winter cabbages at a Moonlight Gardening event full of lantern making and folk music.

Looking to the future, Library Garden is taking steps to finish the main infrastructure of the garden, seeking to complete all raised beds and provide a comfortable seating area for volunteers and visitors. After applying to the Forest Hill NCIL ward at the end of last year, the garden has been recommended for enough money to carry out this hard landscaping work. It will be delivered over the course of the next year in one 'Hands-On' session per week, focusing on the more physical aspects of completing the garden build.

A short maintenance gardening course for Lewisham residents is also on the horizon in order to restore the Louise House wildlife garden to a flourishing state (funding dependent). As always, the more volunteers the merrier, so contact for more information about how to get involved.

From March the library has resumed opening on all evenings Monday-Thursday but does need more volunteers to cover these times. If you can do so, or if you are interested in volunteering at other times you are most welcome. Library volunteers include young adults on work experience and on schemes like that of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Future challenges for Forest Hill Community Library include doing more to bridge the digital divide and making the library eco-friendlier with more efficient heating and lighting. Both, however, depend on continued success in grant applications.

The library is self-funding. You can help by becoming a friend (£29 per annum) or a patron (a single payment of £300). And corporate friendship is also available for £99 or a single payment of £500. The library is a registered charity and when made by UK taxpayers donations qualify for gift aid.

If you would like to volunteer at the library or find out more about being a friend or a patron please contact the manager, Stephen Bruce at the library, or on 020 8244 0634 or by e mail to

28 August 2021

Children's Book Sale at Forest Hill Library

Saturday 11th September, 10am-4pm. Outside Forest Hill Library; a fundraiser for the community library. 

Come along to choose from a range of donated children's books and help support Forest Hill Community Library.

25 March 2021

Forest Hill Library Garden

By Lauren Goddard

After months of passing by the empty green patch behind the Forest Hill Library, and speculating about its emptiness, Harwood and I decided to go to Lewisham Council and apply for community garden funding. Fortunately for us, the council and the library were on board and we have begun to work on the space in the hopes of welcoming the community to an all-seasons edible community garden — once it is safe to do so of course. 

We have both worked and volunteered across a broad scope of local private and communal gardens over the years, including mental health gardens, and we have seen first-hand the absolute magic that comes from gardening alongside a group of people. It is now well known that horticulture has an incredible effect on mental well-being, but it also has the ability to enable a community to form from people who may never have met each other otherwise. 

As we come from a therapeutic-horticulture background, we want to offer a warm and welcoming space to members of the community who may have become isolated due to the pandemic. By scheduling session times with a set number of volunteers and providing personal gloves, a hand-washing station and strict tool disinfection we will be able to offer assurance that the garden accommodates social-distancing requirements and is as Covid-safe as possible.

So far, we have gathered advice from various contractors and green charities on how to make the most out of the small space whilst also making it as accessible as possible given its sloping topography: elongated raised beds will be incorporated into the slope whilst flatter paths will be carved out to wind around them.

Our main aim is to grow edible and medicinal plants, along with some ornamentals to lift one’s spirits. We want to share the unbeatable joy and satisfaction that comes from sharing and eating crops that you have grown yourself. The space will demonstrate ways to grow your own food, even if it’s just on a windowsill or balcony, and we know that we’ll all be sharing lots of crafty growing tips amongst us!

From then on, we will welcome local people for sessions and encourage participants to determine what we grow at the Library Garden and at home. By working together to grow, tend and share plants, we hope the same camaraderie and care will help us to navigate these difficult times as a community.

11 September 2020

Booking Your Library Books

By John Firmin

Forest Hill Community Library has partially re-opened for a ‘click and collect’ book service. Sadly, we are not able to fully reopen the library due to Covid-19, but we are pleased that volunteers are running the click and collect book service three days a week:

Tuesday, 10am ‒ 2pm

Thursday, 3pm ‒ 7pm

Saturday, 10am ‒ 2pm 

To reserve books you can call the library service on 020 8314 8024, email or order your books using the online library catalogue by going to

You will get a call when your books are ready to be collected from Forest Hill Library.

As well as reserving books you can drop in to the library during opening hours and pick up a ‘lucky dip’, which will be three books chosen according to genre or subject. If you need help with click and collect you can also call Forest Hill Library when it is open on 020 8244 0634.  

Good reading!

25 August 2020

Children's Second-hand Book Sale

On Sunday 20th September we will be attending Horniman Farmers' Market with second-hand books for children. This is organised in conjunction with Forest Hill Library and Leaf and Groove bookshop and to raise money for the library. Actually, our main priority is not to raise money but to get more children reading books, particularly while access to the library is limited.

If you have books to donate please make sure that are donated to Leaf and Groove before 13th September so that all books can be quarantined for at least three days.



06 September 2019

Relaunch of Friends of Forest Hill Library

Forest Hill Library has been operating successfully as a community library since October 2016. The library is run primarily by volunteers but relies on a couple of staff employees to ensure the smooth running of the library and its IT systems and to maintain a clean environment for all library users. We are incredibly lucky to have so many volunteers to keep the doors open and to help people with their books and computer needs.

The library has 16 computers that are well-used by the public and large book collections for children, teenagers and adults. There are also regular Origami classes, Baby Bounce and Rhyme Time events, a Book Group for adult readers and a Lively Minds discussion group for the over-50s. All of these activities are also run by volunteers from the local community!

Although our focus is on running the best-possible community library, we also need to consider the financial viability of its operation since, over the past couple of years, expenses have begun to outweigh income.

There are four main sources of income: room rentals on the upper floors of the library building, profits generated by Leaf and Groove — a second-hand book shop in Dartmouth Road — and grants and donations.

When we first took over running the library, we received many generous donations from members of the public, but we have not asked for any more donations since then. We now need to re-institute our Friends’ scheme in order to supplement our regular income, and we would welcome additional donations that individuals and business would like to make.

Our community library will always be free to use by anyone in the community. To ensure that we can continue to provide this service for over 60 hours a week, we need to appeal to the generosity of the local community.

Please consider supporting our much-loved library by becoming a Friend or Patron.

Becoming a Friend of Forest Hill library costs:
£29 for individuals per year
£99 for a business per year

 Becoming a Patron of Forest Hill library costs:
£300 for individuals
£500 for a business

We also welcome any one-off donations, no matter how small or big; and, since we are a charity, we can collect gift aid from personal donations made by UK taxpayers.

To become a Friend of Forest Hill Community Library download the form here.

15 September 2018

Lively Minds at Forest Hill Library

On the first Monday of every month, Forest Hill Library hosts Lively Minds discussions for the over-50s. This is a small group that features a variety of guest speakers talking about a wide variety of topics and encouraging discussion amongst the group.

Since the library became a Community Library we have hosted a variety of discussions about such topics as local history, archaeology, Victorian sewage, improving local roads, philosophy, working for the intelligence services and lots more.

Find out more about the next series of topics at the library.

12 September 2017

Forest Hill Library - Volunteers Needed

Forest Hill Library is now run by volunteers from the local community who keep it open seven days a week. Thanks to their dedication the library continues to thrive, with visitor numbers up year-on-year and a great atmosphere at many events, especially in the ‘Baby Bounce’ group.

The library is always on the lookout for helpful people who can spare a few hours each week. This is a great way to do something worthwhile for the community — helping children and adults to access books and computers.

If you are interested in being part of a great volunteer team, please speak to anyone in the library or contact rota [a]

18 March 2017

Forest Hill Library Update

Back in October Forest Hill Library converted to a community library. While it is officially run by a consortium comprising the Forest Hill Society, V22 and local traders, in reality the day to day running is by Simon Higgs and a team of enthusiastic volunteers. Every day we have up to nine people volunteering for morning, afternoon and evening shifts and helping to keep the library running.

Over the last few months we have replaced all of the library’s computers, upgrading them to faster computers using Windows 10, and replaced the photocopier/printer and we have invested in a new system for managing all of the computers. We have also been slowly adding donated books to the collection, although not as fast as we would like.

During the last few months, the transition has not been without its challenges: the boiler system failed for a number of weeks at the start of winter, there were a number of issues in switching IT systems, and all the books required re-tagging by Lewisham. Despite these issues we have been able to keep the library open and we have learned a lot from the experiences.

The local community has been fabulous in their support for the library — not only by volunteering their time at the library every day — but also by responding to the Crowdfunding campaign we started with the aim of raising £6,000 to improve the library. Within weeks we had surpassed our goal and by the end of six weeks we had passed £10,000 in donations for the library. This financial support, together with funding for activities from Forest Hill Ward Assembly and rental income from the upstairs’ rooms, means that Forest Hill Library is able to break even. As a not-for-profit enterprise, any excess income will be re-invested in the library and used to build up a contingency fund for general repairs and maintenance of the Grade 2* listed building.

Early in 2017 we set up a children’s advisory board and we will soon be forming a general (adult) advisory board, who will ensure that we are responding to the needs of all library users. During 2017 we want to ensure that all of the library’s standard functions are working smoothly, then consider holding more events in and around the library, to make it even more of a community hub.

If you would like to get more involved in the library, we would like to hear from you. We welcome new volunteers and new ideas. Just pop in and speak to Simon or email:

24 October 2016

Press Release: Forest Hill Library Reopens Today

Forest Hill Library reopened by a sweet-shop owner, a fishing-tackle entrepreneur, and Bertrand Russell’s grandson

Forest Hill Library in South London re-opened today, 24 October 2016, as a community library with specialisms in philosophy and the visual arts. A counterpoint to the fate of so many similar libraries across the country, the building will continue to act as a community hub and library, with events for children, facilities for jobseekers and activities for pensioners, but will have some unique features which will make it a destination for people from across the capital.

The Grade II listed Forest Hill Library originally opened in 1901, and has been under the management of the London Borough of Lewisham for many decades. The successful community bid to run the library was put together by V22 – the art organisation based in neighbouring Louise House; the Forest Hill Society – the main residents’ association in SE23; the Forest Hill Traders’ Association – a local business forum; along with several concerned individuals.

Plans for the building include:
•    a specialist art library
•    a philosophy collection put together by the Philosophy Foundation, along with a range of philosophy events for schools, young people and adults
•    new second language sections in the children’s library
•    a collections curator who will take advantage of the 5 million-plus books available through the Lewisham Library and Information Service and the London Libraries Consortium to create browseable displays, including a monthly crowd-sourced theme
•    a dedicated schools’ co-ordinator
•    a continuation of existing events such as the origami club and under 5s stories and songs, as well as new events inspired by the partners, the community and tenants

The Forest Hill Library building will be staffed by volunteers, 110 of whom have already signed up. The initiative is being kick-started by a Crowdfunder campaign and Friends of Forest Hill Library scheme which has already raised several thousand pounds in a few weeks with enormous community support.

The London Borough of Lewisham’s library service will continue to provide advice, training and access to books from its own collections and the London Libraries Consortium. Under-utilised space upstairs will be let as offices and deskspace to generate income for the building. Anchor tenants the Philosophy Foundation will be based there, alongside local creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Tara Cranswick, CEO of V22 said,
“In a city as glorious as London, and a community as active as Forest Hill, it makes perfect sense for neighbours to come together to save this vital piece of community infrastructure and to transform it into a unique resource. Although Lewisham has had to make difficult decisions due to funding constraints, the approach it is taking does seem to be positive and proactive.”
Head of Library Services for the London Borough of Lewisham, Antonio Rizzo, commented,
“What the Forest Hill community has achieved through the library building is remarkable for two reasons. It reaffirms the stake they have in this valued and much loved building and pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved when people come together. The Library Service is excited about the opportunities that this collaboration brings”.
Michael Abrahams is the chair of the Forest Hill Society and has lived in Forest Hill since 1979. Michael was the initial Chair of the Forest Hill Society and has chaired the group between 2006‐2008 and again since 2013, he is also a member of the Forest Hill Assembly Coordinating Group. Michael is a professional online Product Manager with 15 years’ experience in on‐line information systems.
"We have been delighted by the response from the community to this initiative, with lots of people volunteering to help make this a great community library. We are proud to be working with V22, with their experience of managing studios and listing buildings". - Michael Abrahams

Simon Higgs is co‐owner of The Archie Parker coffee shop on Dartmouth Road among other business ventures.  Simon is on the executive board of Forest Hill Traders’ Association and will be integral to setting up the day to day running of the new Forest Hill Community Library. We are delighted that an eminent local entrepreneur and businessman is willing to devote his time to making the community bid a success.

"You say the word 'library' to people and they understand, they know about closures and under-funding, of libraries being turned into glorified cafes and gyms. However, the people and businesses of Forest Hill have gone a step further than just knowing about the threat to our library, they have really rallied behind us and wanted to help, be it by volunteering or donating, everyone wishing they could do more; it is a contagious momentum, heart-warming and inspiring." - Simon Higgs

Pauline Wright is the owner of Sugar Mountain on Dartmouth Road, an executive member of Forest Hill Traders’ - "I am absolutely thrilled that our community partnership bid was the winning bid for our library.  All of us bring something different to our group and together I feel we make the perfect team to create something special for Forest Hill library. I am extremely excited about giving the local kids a voice in how we run the kids library and the input from them has been phenomenal. We are all very aware this is a tough task to take on but we are all very passionate and committed to this and are not taking it lightly!" - Pauline Wright

John Russell (7th Earl Russell) is a Liberal Democrat politician. He is the son of Conrad Russell, 5th Earl Russell, grandson of Bertrand Russell and great-great-grandson of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1864 to 1865. John has been a Forest Hill resident for over 16 years. He served as a Liberal Democrat councillor on Lewisham Borough Council 2006-10 and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Greenwich and Lewisham Greater London Assembly seat in 2012.

"I am delighted to be involved with this innovative community project. Libraries are gateways to learning and personal development. I am thrilled that the whole Forest Hill Community has come together to support the community library. The closure of our library would have left a gaping hole in our community. We plan to make this the best possible community library that we can; working directly with local residents we will plan services to strengthen and enhance our community. We passionately believe that a well-run and responsive community library is a powerful tool to help empower individuals and to raise the educational attainment and emotional wellbeing of our residents" - John Russell

The Philosophy Foundation 

The Philosophy Foundation is an award-winning educational charity based in Forest Hill, raising aspirations and attainment through doing philosophy in schools, communities and the workplace. The Philosophy Foundation trains and accredits philosophy graduates to facilitate philosophical conversations in a variety of community settings, but with a focus on primary schools.

Founded in 2007, The Foundation began working with 5 schools in Lewisham, but now conducts philosophical enquiries in over 40 schools around London on a weekly basis, reaching over 7,300 children every year, and working in a variety of settings including high-security prisons, hospitals and special educational needs schools.

In their capacity as the Library’s anchor tenant, The Philosophy Foundation will be ‘philosophers-in-residence’, renting office space on the premises, as well as running workshops and philosophy sessions for children and adults, and helping to create and look after the philosophy section of the library. This new specialist section will not only comprise academic philosophy books, but also popular philosophy books, and picture books for doing philosophy with children.

"Having worked in schools across Forest Hill for the past 13 years, we are really pleased to finally have a base in the community and are excited about the opportunities this will bring for introducing philosophy – and its benefits – to a wider audience." - Emma Worley, COO

06 October 2016

Library Crowd Funding

Forest Hill Library will be closing for two weeks, from 10th - 24th October for the transition to a Community Library. We already have over 100 volunteers interested in helping to keep the library open and thriving, but as we get closer to the opening we need something else - CASH!

As we transfer to community management we will need money for a range of expenses to ensure the library runs smoothly and can face the challenges ahead. So at this time we are asking for the community to help us raise money for the library with this crowd funding appeal. Please take a look at some of the great rewards available for pledging money, and helping to ensure the success of this community library.

The crowd funding site can be found at:

25 June 2016

Community Library a step closer in Forest Hill

The Forest Hill Society have been working with V22 and Forest Hill Traders Association to bid to manage Forest Hill Library. We have now been recommended as the preferred partner group to take on management of the library.

Lewisham Council's Safer Stronger Communities Select Committee will meet on Monday 4th July to discuss library services. Documents online show that council officers are preparing a report to Mayor and Cabinet will recommend that:
"V22 is approved as the preferred partner for Forest Hill and that the Executive Director for Regeneration is delegated to negotiate a lease for the Forest Hill Library building for a minimum term of 25 years to enable the provision of a community library in partnership with Lewisham Council."

One other organisation had submitted a bid for Forest Hill library, however their bid stated that they would require ongoing revenue support from the council and that proposal was therefore not taken forward by the council.

There will still be a number of contractual and technical issues to sort out before the transition occurs, but we are confident that we can work with the council to create a good community library for Forest Hill.

In the last few months more than 80 people have got in contact to offer their help volunteering in the library once it becomes a community run library. Thank you to all our members who have been in contact to tell us the importance of the library in the community, and who are willing to put their time and energy into ensuring a successful future for this important asset in Forest Hill.

However, the library is currently open for 66 hours per week, so we will still need more volunteers to help staff the library properly and safely. Whether you are available during the day or in the evenings for a few hours per week, it would be great to hear from you.

If you would be interested in volunteering for a few hours per week at the library we would like to hear from you so that we have a great volunteer list ready for the transition in the autumn. At this stage we don’t know what your duties would be, but an interest in books and internet research would be a big advantage. If you would be interested, please contact

22 May 2016

Bid for Forest Hill Library

The Forest Hill Society, together with Forest Hill Traders Association, and V22 (who run artist studios in Louise House) have formed a consortium to take over Forest Hill library as a community library. Our consortium bid for Forest Hill Library is now available online for you to read and discuss. We have removed some sections containing financial data and personal information, but we are sure that this version will give you an idea of our bid.


We believe that running a successful community library in Forest Hill will be about having the experience and skills necessary to manage and maintain a listed building, making the best and most appropriate use of the space to generate revenue, working with the community to provide essential support, volunteering time and community guidance, and staying true to a vision of providing community benefit and a valuable resource for learning.

Incorporating local residents and associations within a joint management committee to run the library will bring confidence that the local community is fully committed and involved with the continued running of the building. The community is the ideal seat for an ongoing dialogue on service provision, ensuring service provision remains current with local requirements, public engagement, and the long‐term development of community‐based services.

This partnership bid brings together V22's considerable experience of renovating, maintaining and transforming buildings, and operating them for arts and community benefit, with representatives from the Forest Hill Society, Forest Hill Traders’ Association, and experienced individuals. Together we bring considerable collective experience of building management, a deep‐seated local knowledge, a wealth of community contacts and goodwill, and experience of making civic improvements for the benefit of local residents. We believe this bid combines an exceptional team that will be well placed to provide library services; to find, motivate and manage the local volunteers so essential to running a community library; and to build upon the core services of a library to make it a true community space run for and by the community ‐ building upon the needs, interests and aspirations of the people of Forest Hill.

Read more at:

29 February 2016

The Future of Forest Hill Library

At the end of 2015 the council ran a consultation on library provision proposing to turn Forest Hill, Torridon Road, and Manor House libraries into ‘Community Libraries’. During the public consultation 54% of respondents rejected all the options proposed by the council and 59% rejected the council’s preferred option of downgrading these libraries to community libraries.

Despite these views expressed in the consultation, and the opposition of the Forest Hill Society among other civic societies and user groups, the mayor of Lewisham accepted the recommendations of the report. It would be unfair not to mention that Lewisham council, like others across the country, are under enormous pressure to cut budgets and find savings wherever they can. Across the country this is resulting in the closure and downgrading of library services, although some, such as Southwark, have managed to avoid significant disruption to library services.

With the decision made to downgrade the libraries we now need to look to the future. The Forest Hill Society will be doing everything we can to ensure that Forest Hill library continues serves the community as well as it possibly can. Over the next few months the council will be putting the library services out to tender. We understand that at the early stages there have been around eight expressions of interest in running one or more of the community libraries in Lewisham. The ambitious plan is to have other organisations running these libraries by August 2016.

The major concern from the Forest Hill Society is that levels of book borrowing continue to be maintained and we do not see the 70% drops that other community libraries have experienced in the last 4 years (compared to a drop of just 4% in Forest Hill over the same period). To achieve this the council needs to ensure that their IT systems are able to work properly with the community libraries, levels of stock must be retained, primary school  visits must be facilitated, and volunteer levels must be sufficient to keep the library open seven days a week, from morning to late evening.

The Forest Hill Society will be looking at what we can do to safeguard the future of the library. This is now likely to involve being part of a consortium (together with local traders, V22 - next door in Louise House, and other partner organisations) bidding to run these services. But whoever does take on the management of the library, we know that we have a vital role to play in helping to find volunteers.

If you would be interested in volunteering for a few hours per week at the library we would like to hear from you so that we can start compiling a volunteer list to help with the transition in August 2016.
At this stage we don’t know what your duties would be, but an interest in books and internet research would be a big advantage. If you would be interested, please contact

07 December 2015

Forest Hill Traders Association reject Library Proposals

Forest Hill Traders have come together to oppose Lewisham Council's plans to convert Forest Hill Library to a Community Library.

"We do understand the Council has a need to cut costs and that there is an opportunity to reduce outgoings by re-structuring the existing council-run libraries in the borough.However we wish to stress in the strongest possible terms that in our opinion a community library would not be suitable for the Forest Hill, nor would any change of use of the current space on the ground floor into a café, or indeed any other commercial operation."
Full text of their letter to Sir Steve Bullock can be read here.

12 November 2015

Controlled Parking Zone for Forest Hill?

The Council is holding an exhibition of the proposed CPZ at Forest Hill Library on Wednesday 18th November, 4pm- 7pm where full scale plans will be available.
During November and December Lewisham Council is carrying out a consultation into a proposed Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in a network of streets bounded by Tyson Road, Horniman Drive, Sydenham Rise, Kirkdale, Dartmouth Road. 

The cost of parking in the CPZ areas would currently be:
Residents - £120 per year or £30 per year for low emission vehicles
Businesses - £500 per year

You can take part in a consultation on the proposal by visiting the Lewisham website

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.