Campaigners host 'pop up library' in Lambeth

Campaigners host 'pop up library' in Lambeth

To coincide with a council-run exhibition about the future of Carnegie Library in London's Lambeth, campaigners created a "pop-up" library to recreate "some of the things we loved" about Carnegie.

Following the council's decision to temporarily close Carnegie in April in order to transform the building into a "healthy-living centre" run by social enterprise company Greenwich Leisure Limited, campaigners staged a sit-in at the library for 10 days before holding a demonstration which was attended by more than 2,000 people.

The council held an exhibition at nearby St Saviour's Church to show the community the new plans for the building. The pop-up library was set up near to the exhibition in order to "show the council some of the things we loved about Carnegie Library" and to "encourage residents to visit the exhibition and give the council their point of view".

The pop-up library, which started on Tuesday (21st June) until the end of the day yesterday (22nd June), ran a range of "interesting and fun" activities including a book swap, story and song time, arts and crafts, drama, gardening, music, discussion groups and chess.

Sara Bredemear, a one of Lambeth's residents who occupied Carnegie Library earlier this year, said: “The pop-up is a great way to show Lambeth council the activities that go on in a library, who uses them and what purpose they serve in a community. Research (and our own experience) shows that it is the most marginalised who use libraries the most. It is always young children, the homeless, elderly, unemployed and BAME groups who are most often ignored. Removing access to information and activities in libraries is no exception.

"Libraries are, relatively speaking, cheap. They give people space and opportunity to help themselves. Helping people to help themselves is surely a better way of going about things than removing all buffers to them crashing down into expensive forms of state help. We want Lambeth to reopen the libraries immediately and work with the community to find a sustainable way to keep them open.”

Pictures: Mike Urban,