Re-engaging our audiences

Closes 21 Jul 2021

Opened 9 Jun 2021

Overview

Lewisham’s libraries have been substantially closed for over a year, with efforts to provide some level of service through Click & Collect, which have been interrupted repeatedly due to COVID restrictions.

As most of our lives gradually return to normal, we are keen to re-engage with our audiences to hear if your priorities have changed. We want to know what it is that is most important to you, so that we can make sure our libraries remain as relevant as possible going forward.

Lewisham has some of the best-used libraries in the country. They offer our residents free access to a wide range of information, learning and creative activities. We know they are valued by our local communities and we are committed to reopening our libraries, but to do so we need to make some changes to how they work.

 

Lewisham’s library service

During the Covid pandemic our library buildings needed to close temporarily and many of our staff have been undertaking essential work to respond to Covid such as ‘Test and Trace’. Now, the council is having to balance a large number of competing demands, and library staff are still working across both the library service and on Covid response. This is why we are implementing a gradual return to our usual library operations.

Lewisham’s library service is made up of the following:

  • Our four ‘hub’ libraries (Catford, Deptford Lounge, Downham, and Lewisham). These are normally open for 80 hours per week Monday to Sunday, with council staff available to support library users for 52 hours per week between 9AM and 7PM. Between 8AM – 9AM and 7PM – 10PM, the public can use our libraries to read, study, or access the internet but without support from council staff. Access is provided by self-service with the support of a security presence.
  • Our eight community libraries supported by volunteers and community organisations (these are NOT part of this engagement). They include Blackheath (Age Exchange), Crofton Park (Eco Communities), Forest Hill (V22), Grove Park (Eco Communities), Manor House (V22), New Cross (New Cross Learning), Sydenham (V22), and Torridon Road (Corbett Group).
  • Our Home Library Service – Delivering to up to 400 housebound residents.
  • Our Archive and Local History Service – providing access to our collections of archival and local history material.
  • Our E-Library – this 24-hour eLibrary service provides access to a wide range of books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, films, concerts, courses and online reference services.

 

Talking about budgets

Over the next three years, Lewisham Council needs to make cuts and savings of £40 million. We need to do this despite careful financial management, as the funding Lewisham receives from the Government has been cut, while at the same time demand for our services is increasing.

Over the next three years, the majority of cuts will be delivered by continuing to transform the way Council services work, including improved joint working with public service partners and reviews into how some services operate. However, all services within the Council will still need to make cuts to make sure we can continue to support our most vulnerable residents. Indeed, the Library Service will be reducing its costs by £300,000 per year and will do so while looking at how best it uses staff.

Why we are consulting

We plan to maintain our building opening hours but may need to change the way we work, and we can do so by better understanding how your life has changed in the last year and what issues will be critical to your lives in the next few years.

We welcome responses from all of our residents, visitors to Lewisham, services users and those who have never used a library before. We’d also like to hear from organisations that already work with the library service or would like to work with us in the future.

Our preference is that you respond to this engagement online by clicking on the link inside the orange box, located below.

We understand that it isn't possible or convenient for everyone to respond online. If you require additional assistance completing this consultation or have a request for a different format (e.g. paper survey), then email us on libraries@lewisham.gov.uk. Please include details of your specific requirements and we will do our best to meet these.

Please note that the deadline for your response is 5pm on Wednesday 21st July 2021.

Give us your views

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • General public
  • Lewisham residents
  • Service users
  • Visitors
  • Children and young people
  • Staff

Interests

  • Libraries