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Forest Hill Library - Proposed Cut to Funding
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Enapinge1


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2015
Post: #41
13-10-2015 10:08 PM

I understand crofton park is run as a 'community library' how is that working?

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #42
13-10-2015 10:54 PM

Feedback I have had from locals in that area is "That it's often not open"
"They don't use it anymore as the book choice is minimal and they don't make an effort to go anymore as it's closed when they get there" and "They rely on residents donating books to give more choice"

This is what I have been told by Crofton Park residents.
Personally I don't use this library so can only go on what others tell me but I can say that this would be a disaster if it happened at FH Library because I see so many local kids and adults using this service day in day out for many reasons.

I support the petition for FH Library to stay as it is completely and wear my "Fight For Libraries" stickers with pride every day.

Guess you all gathered I feel quite strongly about this, I do because it effects lots of local kids basic learning skills.

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #43
14-10-2015 07:16 AM

Crofton Park has increased visitor numbers by 6% and only seen a reduction in borrowing by 60% from 2010 to 2014 (that's the smallest fall for any community library).

Again for the sake of comparison Forest Hill library has seen an increase visitor numbers by 17% and a reduction in borrowing by 6% over the same period.

On the one occasion I visited the library in Crofton Park it appeared more focused on selling second-hand books than providing a borrowing service, but that might not be a fair conclusion from a single visit outside library opening hours.

But for a more positive picture, there was an article in News Shopper last year by a young journalist - http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/youngreport..._Years_On/

Once again it is right to praise the work of the volunteers without whom Crofton Park library would probably be closed, but that doesn't mean it is the best solution for providing library services or that it should be replicated in larger libraries such as Forest Hill.

And one rhetorical question, why should our council tax money go to running good libraries in Lewisham, Downham, and Deptford but no professionally run libraries in the south west of the borough?

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #44
15-10-2015 01:14 PM

The petition to save the library now has 717 signatures. If you want to sign it you can do here!

https://www.change.org/p/lewisham-counci...-libraries

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #45
16-10-2015 08:31 PM

AND another from me ahead of tomorrow's Assembly meeting!

Why is Forest Hill being cut before Downham when as far as I know FH lends more books!

To my knowledge FH comes third after Lewisham and Deptford!

I'm not the best on figures but this is my understanding, please correct me if I'm wrong.

https://www.change.org/p/lewisham-counci...-libraries

Please sign the petition if you agree with me.

I will be asking this, but not what I will be most vocal about.

I will be asking how anyone can take this service away from local kids and parents who have came to me and asked me to fight for their Library.

To quote a 12 year old yesterday "Are you really having to fight to keep the Library for us, everyone at school says you are having too"
Me "Don't worry (she was crying)"
Her "Please try and keep it open for us"
Me "I will"
Her "I feel so sad and upset about this thank you for doing this for us"
Me " Don't be silly I will fight this all the way for you kids and I'll do all I can to keep your Library.

When this kid left I cried my eyes out because I don't know if I can keep to my word on this but I sure damn will try.

This is how the kids feel and I see it first hand.

I really hope the people that want to go ahead with this proposal take this in to account.

They don't see this side as they are not on Dartmouth Road everyday. I am and can see how many kids this upsets and to what extent.

The above convo is only one of many the kids have spoke to me about.

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shaman


Posts: 71
Joined: Nov 2009
Post: #46
17-10-2015 01:56 PM

signed

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Enapinge1


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2015
Post: #47
17-10-2015 07:11 PM

Meeting on Monday 19th October at sydenham school re: the library plans. 7.30.details of all meetings on Lewisham web site

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #48
17-10-2015 09:12 PM

Small updates on the "Library Consultation Update" from the Assembly Meeting today.

I wasn't able to put across as many points as I wanted too "Antonio Rizzo - service manager" was due to be at the meeting today but she wasn't even though this was advertised.

So I will come to the meeting on Monday 19th at Sydenham School on Dartmouth Road at 7.30pm to voice them.

Many were not aware of the petition I have mentioned previously but I made all aware and left flyers for everyone to pick up if they wanted too.

On a good note

After many questions asking will local Clllrs get behind us and fight for FH Library eventually after hearing the passion of the locals Cllr Peter Bernard stood up and said he will help fight our corner to voice the community and asked us to sign the petition to back him up.

Let's do this and hopefully he will be there on Monday to back up our concerns.

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #49
19-10-2015 10:31 AM

some interesting points from the petition:

Quote:
· Any library run by volunteers will close if enough volunteers can’t be found:
· Sydenham, Crofton Park and Grove Park library nearly closed earlier this year, as the holder of the tenders wished to return it.
· New Cross Learning is currently displaying posters, threatening closure if more volunteers can’t be found.

· The community libraries are already struggling to pay their bills. Sydenham was not able to provide heating over last winter as funding was not available.

If you have concerns about Forest Hill being downgraded to a community library then please come along this evening.
And please fill in the online survey: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/li...-2015.aspx

And on the consultation, when you get to the question:

Quote:
Which of the following is your preferred option for changes to the library service?

1. Outsourcing ....
2. ...Closing libraries
3. ...Community library model ....
4. Other....please specify below

Please consider using the 'Other' option as the only way to maintain services in Forest Hill (just as they think is best for Deptford, Downham, and Lewisham).[/quote]

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Jane2


Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #50
19-10-2015 02:19 PM

Thanks, I started doing the questionnaire but got stuck on the Options as I didn't want to choose any of them. I will redo it and put Other.

Without seeing the overall Council budget it is difficult to comment. Is money being wasted elsewhere? For example - the pavement on my road in Forest Hill (Kilmorie Road) has just been totally repaved in lovely stone - yes it looks very nice, but wasn't totally necessary as the previous tarmac pavement wasn't that bad - I'd like to know how much this repaving cost, and how the Council can afford this, yet cut library provision? If it came down to smart new paving or libraries I know which I would choose and I definitely know which my kids would choose.
I am sure other residents can think of examples of other projects which don't seen cost effective.

Book donations is just not a replacement for a proper library service either, one of the great things about the library is the inter-library loans so you can request specific books, as my children often get into a particular author and want to read all the books in that series; or they are studying a particular topic so we can request a book on that subject.

I also think this will have a detriment to Forest Hill centre overall, we often combine a visit to the library with visit to the pools / local shops / cafes, its a nice little outing without having to travel too far.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #51
19-10-2015 04:16 PM

I agree Jane, my Road (Rockbourne) recently had new tarmac laid and it wasn't needed, also someone mentioned to me about scaffolding being put up to change windows in flats and said it wasn't needed either!

If anyone feels strongly about the FH library proposal and wants to give comments to the South London Press please private message me with your email as I will be speaking with Kate Gould tomorrow and can pass emails or phone numbers on.

Again as Michael has mentioned please come along to the meeting tonight if you have any concerns.

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Enapinge1


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2015
Post: #52
19-10-2015 05:48 PM

Community libraries can't take fines or fees for reservations. You have to go to one that does.so where do I go if Forest hill can't take them?
This seems ridiculous.

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Red67


Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #53
19-10-2015 10:07 PM

In their defence, the Council did do an open 'Set The Budget' challenge last year when everyone in the borough could basically put forward their ideas and preferences for how drastic savings (as a result of the Govt cuts to the local govt grant) could be made and what services were most important to them and how they would make cuts. It's worth reading through this slightly dull, graph laden document to get an idea of what people think and what huge financial challenges Lewisham faces...
http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/d...llenge.pdf

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #54
20-10-2015 09:38 AM

Enapinge1,
The council officers confirmed that soon the community libraries will be able to deal with fines and fees. He blamed computer systems, particularly their Oracle database.

In 'Set The Budget' challenge libraries were regarded by many people as an important service to their families.

In the meeting yesterday I suggested two ways that the council do not seem to have considered for saving money in library services:
1. Use volunteers in Lewisham managed libraries rather than only in community libraries (keeping professional library staff at each library, but reducing staffing levels)
2. Do not *increase* opening hours at Lewisham and Deptford when reducing the service in the south of the borough.

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Anotherjohn


Posts: 347
Joined: May 2005
Post: #55
20-10-2015 10:04 AM

Nice one Michael!
Your suggestions make perfect sense to me so I hope the council will see it the same way and make their budget fit (instead of wasting £1M on 20mph signs in this year of spending cuts (as mentioned in an earlier post)).

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #56
20-10-2015 10:25 AM

Quote:
He blamed computer systems, particularly their Oracle database.


It is frustrating to hear such language (from a Council officer). It is very unlikely that the database prevented any library from dealing with a fine. Much more likely that the people running or designing the application have not delivered this. Ultimately this is the Council who are responsible and not a computer system which is just a dumb tool.

It is interesting that they have Oracle as part of their solution as this could very well make it expensive. I do hope that they already have this for other applications.

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Enapinge1


Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2015
Post: #57
20-10-2015 12:36 PM

Another thought- why can't Downhan be a community library? It will always have staff,heating and a throughput of people.
If Sydenham,Forest Hill ,Crofton and Torridon are community libraries where are all the volunteers in this part of the borough coming from?

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #58
20-10-2015 09:02 PM

Sadly my reply is that our local Cllr's don't seem to be backing us on this. I'm actually begging them to get behind us as a community and they have saw me cry because I feel this passionate but to no avail.

I find this tough because I know all have to make decisions and I am on friendly terms with all.

I feel so strongly about keeping our library run by Lewisham Council as it's what the local kids need and want but I am going against people I know.

Never have I had to go against others that do a lot for our community but I have to now.

I apologise if I upset anyone but I have to do this for the local kids first and foremost.

Regarding Downham over FH - It's because it's an under privalaged area and FH should succeed as a community library more as It's more community based BUT that's not our fault just because we care about our community more than
Downham.

Sorry If I come across a bit brutal but I care about where we live and the people in it.

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Loigal


Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #59
20-10-2015 09:33 PM

Survey completed and petition signed. The idea of a hub library with extended hours miles away will have no benefit whatsoever to my family or I think our community. I doubt people will make the trek which means we'll essentially lose access to the service. My family want and use a local library with proper staff known to users. How many volunteers and what systems would be needed to provide an equivalent service? Who are those volunteers?? Who are the partners the council references and what have they done elsewhere? What's the reference to them decreasing space for other purposes? Access to books is a key foundation for our kids and removing that, particularly for the most needy in our community, is just storing up future problems. The proposal is so short sighted.

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Red67


Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #60
20-10-2015 10:22 PM

Eco Communities now runs the other libraries so i presume it is the same organisation that the Council are referring to with reference to outsourcing the running of FH library...
https://localgiving.com/charity/ecocom

I think comments about Downham folk 'not caring' about their area as much as the people in Forest Hill appreciate their area is a bit harsh - it's true that Downham is generally a more deprived area of the borough than FH and perhaps the decisions a progressive (ie not Tory) council needs to make about resources in times such as these should focus on those who stand to lose the most if a service is taken away. I know this may upset P1971 (puts tin hat on) but it is a valid point. Maybe people in FH are more able, generally, to give their time to help the wider community due to better life circumstances etc
I'm not saying kids (and older users) here won't lose out by having the Library run at perhaps a slightly reduced level than it is now, but there are appalling decisions that have to be made due to the Tory austerity agenda, and it's a 'rock and a hard place' scenario for the council as far as i see it... i just don't think this is as simple as Cllrs 'not backing us' to retain the service as it is. Where do you think they could make savings that add up to the amount they are expected to cut that won't impact anyone? I really don't know...

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