Plans to sell Forest Hill Library in Lewisham to a private contractor will now go ahead, after an announcement at a Lewisham council meeting earlier this month.
This comes after local residents hit out at plans to axe the library’s budget last year.
Eco Computers, which already runs former Lewisham Council libraries in Grove Park, Crofton Park and Sydenham, will purchase the library building and will be responsible for building maintenance, but the council insists their duties won’t go beyond that.
Sydenham Assembly Councillor Chris Best said the sale, for an undisclosed amount, will help cut costs while maintaining the efficiency of the library services.
She told Eastlondonlines: “Lewisham library service still provide the books, the IT the free WiFi and a number of outreach events. The library service has still got that local offer, but we get another organisation to run the actual building and they will just bring more events and more activities. The library can still generate rental income and bring the community together.”
Eco Computers owner, Danny Taylor, who is also a former employee of computer giant Dell, is active in ensuring libraries continue running. He said: “Our mission statement is about sorting out social problems.”
Forest Hill Society chairman Michael Abrahams said: “Forest Hill is one of the best performing libraries in terms of numbers of books borrowed, [which] is especially important in deprived boroughs like Lewisham, as it helps improve literacy.
“In the case of a number of community libraries, we have seen a dramatic reduction in book borrowing and professional library services, despite the hard work of volunteers.
“We don’t want to see a similar thing happen to our excellent local library in Forest Hill.”
Our reporter, Simisola Jasmine Jolaoso sat down with Councillor Chris Best to find out more: