Residents gave their backing to Norbury Library’s £1m refurbishment this week as part of council plans to transform and improve the borough’s network of 13 libraries.
More than 150 people attended an open day event hosted by councillors and council staff on Saturday, with more than 100 filling out feedback forms to give their views on a new look library for the area.
There was overwhelming local support for the plans, which will bring longer opening hours, improved Wi-Fi and new furniture, shelving and lighting to the library.
The refurbishment, which is due to start over the summer, will include a full roof replacement, upgraded ICT, redecoration and new furniture. An accessible lift will be installed to the first floor community room, bringing this space back into use. The room will be named after long-serving Norbury councillor Maggie Mansell, who died in January this year.
And to give residents longer access to their new library spaces and services, the council will pilot new technology, Open+, which will allow them to access the building with their library card.
Norbury is among the first phase of the council’s ambitious programme of refurbishment for all Croydon’s libraries, transforming them into modern, welcoming, inspirational spaces that meet local needs now and in the future. The programme is already under way, with South Norwood’s new library opening in spring 2020. Selsdon, Norbury and Thornton Heath libraries will all be refurbished over the next year.
The Libraries Plan 2019-2208, approved by cabinet Tuesday 7 May, sets out the council vision for Croydon’s libraries, including the commitment to keep all 13 of the borough’s libraries open as vibrant centres of creativity and learning. The Plan follows the council’s decision to take the service back in-house last year, protecting this vital local service and library jobs after the collapse of contractor Carillion.
Already this year, the council has committed £5m to the refurbishment of libraries and has increased the book fund by 9%.
To get more people involved with Croydon’s libraries, the council will develop its volunteer programme, and partnerships with the voluntary and community sector. The network of volunteers will be in addition to current staffing numbers, and there are no plans for any library to be staffed entirely by volunteers.
“We want Croydon libraries to be modern, welcoming spaces where people of all ages and backgrounds come to learn, read, work, meet people and get involved, so it’s great to see so many people giving their views on our plans for Norbury.
“The council is committed to keeping and improving all 13 of its libraries and this refurbishment will see this beautiful historic building transformed into a modern library and events space at the heart of the community.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport