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Forest Hill Library - Proposed Cut to Funding
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Posts: 32
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #1
04-09-2015 02:33 PM

Lew Council are proposing to cut Forest Hill Library from their services. (As well as all the other remaining libraries except Deptford, Lewisham and Downham). They suggest it will be run by a community org (Eco Computers, who run CP and Syd?) on the semi-voluntary basis of the other community libraries.

The council also suggest that they're going to renegotiate the contracts with Fusion for FH Pools, cutting out contractual levels of service. No specifics about what particular services will be cut, apart from the end of their free swimming offer.

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Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #2
04-09-2015 07:49 PM

That's terrible! FH library provides a great service, we go there regularly, lots of families I know combine a visit to the pools with a visit to the library. It's a healthy educational and inexpensive way to spend a morning.
How do these community libraries work? Are you able to request books etc as you can do now? Are they open every day?

Kids books are pretty expensive to buy, without the library my children would read a lot less than they do. It's also really useful when the children are studying specific topics as reference books are particularly expensive (and school curriculums change regularly). The staff in FH library are always really helpful and welcoming to my children and have been very patient with the Summer Reading Challenge!

Considering that the government is trying to increase literacy levels, schools are judged on pupils' literacy in regular tests, parents are strongly encouraged to read every day with their children, plus other initiatives like World Book Day and summer reading challenge, closing Libraries seems rather short-sighted. It just doesn't seem like very joined up thinking...

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Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #3
04-09-2015 08:14 PM

Any negative impact to the extensive library services would be sad for the community. I expect we should write tour councillors? Anyone else? Will there be a public consultation?

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Posts: 30
Joined: Apr 2015
Post: #4
05-09-2015 12:44 PM

The document posted above has an email you can use to respond to the proposals: .

The impact statement claims the effects on young people will be "positive"....(??)

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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #5
05-09-2015 03:48 PM

I have put a cross-reference to this in the FH pools thread -

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Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #6
05-09-2015 05:21 PM

An article from the Newsshopper from earlier this year gives a pretty good picture of the reasons behind this, so i don't quite know why anyone is surprised.

...oh well....

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #7
05-09-2015 07:47 PM

On the one hand this library (presumably) stayed open during the great depession and 2 world wars. Therefore these cut backs are not due to shortage of money, but rather its distribution.

On the other, this library has changed and I suspect many now read books/newspapers online or order new/second hand books from ebay/amazon. And if Lewisham provided a selection of periodicals and books online instead, I imagine most adults would prefer this.

However the key services are now the children's library and the computer access imo, and there is no excuse to cut either of those, especially when the government has put so many of their functions online to save money.

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Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #8
05-09-2015 09:03 PM

I agree, personally I tend to read news online and buy secondhand books. But the children's library is really vital, as any teacher will tell you the really important thing is to get children to read and read. This has more impact on learning than anything else. The children's library always seems the busiest part of the library when I go.

Also as you say the computer access is really important for many people who don't have computers for accessing all sorts of services, so yes those are the two key things I agree. Similarly the computers always seem well used when I am in there.

I knew there were cuts (our local children's centre has had its services drastically cut) but I hadn't realised it affected the library too.

I am not blaming the council as I know that they are passing on cuts given to them by central government but it's all so short- sighted.

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Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2015
Post: #9
06-09-2015 03:21 PM

Sorry, but I don't agree with Perryman. Not everybody wants to read online and many people feel it is almost a fundamental of the state to have a library where books are free to loan. I understand this dialogue begins with the Council needing to make cuts, but some things should be in the hands of the borough, rather than loosely assigned to "the community" where the expression is often used merely as a buzzword. Here it would mean the responsibility for a very important public service falling on a small group of people as overworked volunteers. Personally speaking I do not regard picking up books second hand or my being able to read material online as in any way reducing the need for a good local library.

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Posts: 116
Joined: Nov 2014
Post: #10
07-09-2015 11:20 AM

Sad. But what can the Council do. They are already stretched to the limit, and when austerity measures come in something has to go.

Unfortunately this is the Government this country voted in. And the effects/damage on communities will only be felt in the longer term.

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Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #11
18-09-2015 09:03 AM

There is a union meeting about this today!

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #12
18-09-2015 02:00 PM

Decker, it is such a pity "this government" inherited a country in such a superb financial state and dragged it downhill so badly.

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #13
19-09-2015 10:42 AM

All 3 main parties had the same austerity policy.
All we were voting for was the colour of the rosette.
The libraries, hospitals and other essential services were under great threat whatever the outcome.

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Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #14
24-09-2015 09:11 PM

I know many people are still struggling to make ends meet, but (we're told at least) the country, especially London, is well on the road to recovery and income has been rising. In this light, isn't it time we had a council tax rise after years of freezes? I'd much rather see this than vital services such as the library and police being cut.

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Posts: 71
Joined: Nov 2009
Post: #15
25-09-2015 01:06 PM

Why are the council spending over £1million implementing a borough-wide 20mph zone if there is so little money? Especially considering the fact that they are widely ignored throughout London. Seems like such a waste of cash when they are cutting children's services and threatening libraries at the same time.

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Posts: 28
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #16
25-09-2015 02:24 PM

Seems absurd that Nicky Morgan the Secretary of State for Education made a speech on 24th September aiming to make children in England the best in Europe at reading. Quoting "Before children arrive in schools, our reforms to early years are helping them to acquire the language, skills and vocabulary they need to learn to read."

Then further down "We know that library users are much more likely to read in their own time than non-library users - accessing the existing 3,142 public libraries open in this country."

"Every single child and person deserves to travel the world by the power of imagination, invention and glorious words."

I would say that would be impossible to achieve without access to a local library.

Full speech can be found on

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #17
25-09-2015 05:36 PM

"Every single child and person can travel to their local library by the power of imagination..."

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Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #18
25-09-2015 09:03 PM

Why are the council spending over £1million implementing a borough-wide 20mph zone if there is so little money?

So that fewer children die on the roads.

See and

As regards compliance, I'd love there to be more enforcement than we're seeing but I do think average speeds have fallen in Southwark even if they're not down to 20mph yet (though this is based on casual observations only).

This post was last modified: 25-09-2015 09:10 PM by brencud.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #19
05-10-2015 01:46 PM

The consultation is now available at

There will be consultation events:
​Wednesday 7 October, 7:30pm, ​Broadway Theatre, Catford
​Monday 19 October, 7:30pm, ​Sydenham School, Dartmouth Road

Lewisham council's preferred option of transferring management to a community group. Transfer to community libraries in Crofton Park and Sydenham have resulted in reduced lending with three times the number of books issued from the two libraries in 2010 compared to 2014 (based on October figures). By contrast, Forest Hill library lending in 2014 is at 94% of the 2010 level, higher than any other library in the borough.

Those most impacted will be school children living furthest from one of the new 'hub' libraries. That means children in SE23 and SE26.

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Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2013
Post: #20
05-10-2015 08:16 PM

Thanks Michael.

I've just looked at the consultation website and if, like me, you can't make the consultation events there's an online survey that can be completed - I hope many of you will make your views known. The survey is at

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