Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes has said that it is clear to her that “the main and dominant use” of the Carnegie library – currently occupied by protesters – “must be the provision of a library and spaces for community meetings and that any other revenue raising uses must be subservient to these”.
The Labour MP said she was “absolutely committed to seeing the Carnegie Library retained as a library”.
Outlining the massive cuts faced by Lambeth council and the refusal of the government to intervene with extra money, as it has done in much wealthier areas than Lambeth, she said: “The Tory government remains committed to an entirely unfair distribution of cuts”.
She cited the Upper Norwood joint library in her constituency that, she said, was run by a trust that was now well established and developing exciting plans for the running of its building with a library at its heart.
She went on: “This is what I want to see for Carnegie – a beautiful building which has the potential to be used for a wide variety of different purposes, but which is focused on providing a library.”
The MP said there must be “clear parameters” for the discussion of the future of the library, saying: “It is clear to me that the main and dominant use of the Carnegie must be the provision of a library and spaces for community meetings and that any other revenue raising uses must be subservient to these.”
The council was also looking to undertake a transfer of the building to the Carnegie Community Trust – so that it could be run by local residents as a neighbourhood library and community hub.
“The proposed transfer of the building and the diversification of uses to include the neighbourhood library is being done with the knowledge of the Carnegie Trust UK who administer the Carnegie legacy nationally,” said the MP.
“Defend the Ten” campaigners for all of Lambeth’s libraries have rejected this suggestion, saying in a list of demands to the council: “No to the transfer the Carnegie Library building – which was given for a library for the benefit of the community, to the ‘Carnegie Community Trust’ which does not represent the community.”
Helen Hayes’ full statement.