A ‘big society’ vision for New Cross library

Cathy Dumbar, Gill Hart and Lucia Graves from the New Cross People's Library Committee

New Cross Library officially closed on Saturday but the New Cross People’s Committee are aiming to re-open the library as a community-led project as soon as possible. Gill Hart, secretary of  the “New Cross People’s Library”, told a public meeting, held at Telegraph Hill  on Thursday that: “Nothing is being taken out from New Cross Library, in other words we have all the books.”

The committee has an open membership and with a  currently membership of 20, is hoping to attract more members.

ELL talked to three members of the committee:

Aileen Buckton, Executive Director of Community Services for Lewisham  said that they were entering  new territory and that they want to see something positive happening for New Cross Library. She spoke about the history surrounding the five libraries scheduled for closure: New Cross, Blackheath, Crofton Park, Grove Park and Sydenham. For the latter three, Darren Taylor, CEO of Eco-Computers won the bid to hold temporary leases. Mr Taylor is also lending his support to New Cross Library.

The 170 Community Project, on New Cross Road,  said they were fully committed to keeping the Library as a community-run entity. They aim to help with training and support, volunteers and planning.

According to the plan, New Cross Library will be renamed New Cross People’s Library and will stay at the same location.

New Cross People’s Library Committee outlined some points of the future plan and have promised to do everything in their power to make the library fully operational as soon as possible, also pledging to open for specific events and to run a programme for children. The summer reading scheme will continue.

New Cross Library - photo: Xixi Zheng

However, the rent will be £16,000 for the ground floor alone, and £30,000 for the whole building

James Haywood, president of Goldsmiths Student Union, believes that the closing down of the library will be a loss not just to Goldsmiths students but to the whole community of New Cross:

Anyone who wishes to get involved in re-opening New Cross Library (to be known as The New Cross People’s Library), can email Gill Hart at newcrosspeopleslibrary@gmail.com. You can also join their facebook group.


  1. kathy dunbar May 28, 2011
  2. Gill Hart May 29, 2011
  3. NeilM May 31, 2011

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