Private Eye has mocked Lambeth Council over its Lambeth Libraries consultation.
The Friends of Lambeth Libraries have issued the following statement:
‘Lambeth’s appalling library plans have now been picked up by PRIVATE EYE – twice!
Issue 1406, page 23) shows the arrogance and ignorance displayed at the council meeting on 18 November. They put it into pictures, so even a Labour councillor can understand it.
Our delegation set out a reasoned case – including the fact that the plan WON’T EVEN SAVE ANY MONEY.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke didn’t even try to answer any of the points made. But not one single Labour councillor voted against.
As a resident asked: ‘Are they corrupt, or just incredibly stupid?’
‘PREVIOUSLY PE focused on the sheer stupidity of Lambeth’s make-libraries-into-gyms idea: Private Eye Issue No. 1403. (p.35)’
‘ONCE a sanctuary for those seeking a quiet place to read, public libraries in Lambeth are set to be packed with… gym equipment and personal trainers as a way to “safeguard” the buildings from future cuts.
Minet, Carnegie and Tate South Lambeth libraries are all set to become Healthy Living Centres, run by outsourced leisure services firm Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) under new plans to avoid absolute closure of the libraries. A neighbourhood library service will be kept in each building, but this will consist of merely “a limited supply of
books” that people can borrow and drop off, plus computers and study space. There will be no librarians.
GLL, a social enterprise originally creaated by Greenwich Council to run leisure centres, will also offer “fee-paying access to gymnasium equipment” and opportunities for self-employed fitness trainers in the buildings.
Lambeth Council describes this as “diversifying the use of library buildings” and claims it will save the buildings and services within them from total closure and sale.
Nine years ago, before its fancy revamp, Liverpool Central Library installed “muscle-toning stations, including squat machines and shoulder presses, next to the computing area as a novelty wheeze to get readers exercising (Eye 1165). But at least library chiefs there rejected joggers on treadmills as too noisy and distracting.’