I work for Lewisham council and as part of their budget cuts they've closed 5 of our 12 libraries. The council holds the leases for 4 of them and last week put up this page
as part of it's plans to attract outside organisations to take over the running of the 4 former libraries.
The interesting paragraph is this one -"The conditions of any lease will carry with it a responsibility for the full repair and maintenance of each building. Proposals submitted may relate to one, some or all of the properties."
Which will require a major investment by anyone taking on the leases for Sydenham, Crofton Park and New Cross because these buildings have been neglected to the point of recklessness.Sydenham
This is a Carnegie library from 1907.
The work needed to be done to it includes: re-plastering a 15 x 12 ft section of interior wall. Fixing a leaking roof, which has also damaged the electrics in the staff kitchen. There are also windows that cannot be closed due rusted / painted over hinges. The guttering leaks and there is limited heating in the staff areas. New Cross
This is situated on a parade of shops, there are flats above the building
A large section of the false ceiling has collapsed due to leaks from the flats above, the carpet has been damagedCrofton Park
This is another Carnegie library from 1905.
While the current functioning area of the library is in good order, the upper rooms have been uncared for to the extent that glazing is cracked, window frames loose and paint is peeling from the walls. There's evidence that pests such as wasps have gained entry to the rooms and made hives in cupboards and other storage space.
What's really galling is that the poor state of the buildings was part of the criteria used, when deciding to close them.