Library groups have condemned Lambeth Borough Council's plans to cut its library funding, in a move which could see half of the area's libraries lost.
The council has outlined the proposals in a new document called "Culture 2020", with the core being that two of the council's 10 libraries will be closed, while a further three will be left to volunteers to run, if groups come forward. Only five libraries will remain council run, though they will also be subject to budget cuts, as the council looks to slash £800,000 a year from its library budget.
Laura Swaffield, chair of the Library Campaign and a member of Friends of Lambeth Libraries, said: "The service itself has been under-funded for decades. Yet it is improving on all measures, and expanding its activities dramatically. Thanks to enormous efforts by staff, it is winning awards and government praise. The libraries' beautiful buildings have been neglected for years, almost to the point of destruction. Lambeth has recently invested in repairing this damage - and it is paying off, with attractive spaces that people want to use. Much of this is now to be wasted."
She added: "The financial plan to support so-called 'community libraries' simply doesn't add up. They are being set up to fail. Lambeth's plans are totally flawed - and show that it has no idea what public libraries do for the council and its residents."