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Save Lewisham Libraries

This petition had 1,729 supporters

Signers of this petition are asking Lewisham Council to cancel its plans to cut £1million form the libraries budget

Lewisham Council is proposing to cut £1 million from libraries budget.

The Council’s preferred option is to remove staff from

4 libraries:

Catford, Forest Hill, Manor House and Torridon Road.

These libraries will then be run by local volunteer organisations.

Unison believes that if these plans are approved then:

·       Professional staff will not be available in these libraries

·       Opening times will be reduced

·       If there are not enough volunteers, then libraries will close

·       Library usage and services to the community will be reduced

·       Vulnerable users won’t be able to access library services


Signers of this petition are asking Lewisham Council to stop it's plans to cut £1million form the libraries budget



Unison is campaigning to save our libraries. The Council is considering handing the running of libraries over to volunteers.

We believe that its important that libraries remain staffed by trained, professional staff.

 What's wrong with volunteers?

Unison has no problem with people volunteering. We do have a problem when local authorities replace paid, professional staff with volunteers.

Unison does not believe that volunteers can satisfactorily run a library.

 ·  Volunteers can be unreliable. If enough volunteers can’t be found, then libraries will reduce their opening hours or close.

·  Volunteers lack training and specialist skills, Unison believes they can’t adequately:

-   Protect the library and it’s users from abusive or disruptive customers.

-   Keep user information confidential

-   Understand safeguarding issues around children and the elderly

-   Direct people who need urgent help to other agencies

-   Manage and maintain the building

·  There are clear safeguarding issues. Volunteers have access to sensitive information and areas where young and vulnerable users may be unsupervised by parents.

·  The council has transferred many services online. Library staff are called on to help access these services. This requires confidential information being shared with staff.

Will people feel confident giving this information to volunteers?

·  Volunteers are not able to take payments, meaning users will have to travel long distances in order to pay monies owed to the library. 

 What are the risks?

·  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.

­   Pepys Resource Centre regularly closes when enough volunteers can’t be found.

·  Once libraries are transferred to volunteers, they will never return to Council control.

·  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.

·  5 of 6 existing community libraries have at least one member of paid staff, relying on donations and grant funding.

·  Use of the existing community libraries has dropped by over 50% since they have been run by volunteers, a clear indication of public dissatisfaction.

 What can I do?

The Council is due to vote on the 9th December 2015. Before then you should:

·  Contact your local councillor

·  Fill in the library consultation

·  Join us in protesting the proposed cuts

 Can we change anything?

In Staffordshire, the mass opposition means that the Council will not now be handing all 24 sites to volunteers.

The Save Lewisham Hospital campaign successfully overturned the decision to close the A&E department.



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