The Friends of Waterloo Library are inviting local residents to discuss the future of the service as Lambeth Council launches a commission tasked with finding ways of making a £750,000 cut to Lambeth's £7.3 million library budget by 2014.
The Friends group is holding a drop-in session at the library on Thursday 12 May between 5pm and 6pm to provide local residents with an opportunity to learn more about the council's intentions.
A new Libraries Commission of councillors and experts has been set up to make recommendations to Lambeth's cabinet about the future of libraries in the borough.
The council has published visitor statistics for Lambeth's nine libraries which show that Waterloo Library has the third lowest number of visitors. 40,156 visits were made to the Lower Marsh library in 2010-11. Only Minet Library and Carnegie Library had fewer visitors.
"The aim of the commission is to look at the new and creative ways to deliver a library service that will be used by more people but cost less money," says Cllr Florence Nosegbe, cabinet member for culture, sport and the 2012 games.
"This could include anything from changing the opening hours or delivering libraries co-operatively.
"In the context of significant cuts in Lambeth’s income from government grants, the library service must reduce its costs by £750,000 by April 2014.
"However, this is not just about balancing the books. If a service is underused, we need to know why and address that to ensure residents get value for money.
"It's obvious that we have not got the offer right and there is a growing recognition that library services need to adapt in line with changes in our lifestyle and expectations.
"The friends of the libraries have started an excellent, high profile campaign to keep Lambeth libraries open.
"I want to channel their passion and enthusiasm into the commission so we can have honest and creative conversations about the future of the libraries in the borough.
"Contrary to media reports, no libraries have been earmarked for closure; this commission is a blank piece of paper so I really want to urge anyone who cares about libraries, literature and the community to get involved in the commission."
The consultation period runs until 1 July; find out how to get involved.
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