Friends’ Committee. The committee for 2011-12 consisted of Priscilla Baines (chairman), Fiona Clark (vice chairman), Kay Coombs (secretary), Jeremy Orme (treasurer), Anne Burt (membership secretary), Elizabeth Barrott, Sue Codrington, Veronica Ledwith, Laura Swaffield and David Tisdall. Frank Bornemann continued to operate the sound system at meetings, for which we are very grateful. The committee met seven times during the year.
Membership. At the end of the year the Friends had 202 members compared with 170 a year before. 142 renewed their membership for 2011-12 and 58 new members joined, although 34 did not renew. Both years’ totals include our two honorary life members. We issued four members’ Newsletters during the year. We have begun to circulate the
newsletter by e-mail to our external contacts and plan to concentrate on building up our members’ e-mail address list so that we can reduce the number of hard copy deliveries.
Activities. Our monthly talks have continued with mainly local speakers and high attendances, plus two successful parties. The talks are now widely publicised and add significantly to the library’s footfall. We have continued our occasional collaborations with the Kennington Bookshop. Our thanks go to our speakers, to Veronica Ledwith for another successful programme, to Tim O’Dell, Lambeth’s Reader Development Officer, for help with providing speakers, and to Elizabeth Barrott and the food teams for the excellent and much appreciated food. Thanks also to Gordon and Jill Johnston for continuing to run the bar so efficiently.
Betty Severn, on behalf of the Friends, has continued to work with Audrey Hudson of the library staff to organise regular seniors’ events in the library. These remain very popular and we plan to continue them.
Website. We commissioned Naomi Lourie Klein to design a website for us and it
went live in January 2012. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and our thanks to Naomi for such a stylish site. It is already helping to raise our profile and to provide a convenient means of publicising the Friends’ activities.
Lambeth Libraries. We have devoted much time and effort throughout the year to working with Lambeth Council on the future of Lambeth libraries. We submitted a short paper in June 2011 to Lambeth’s Libraries Commission on the implementation of spending cuts and the future of the library service. The Commission started work in
May and reported in late November 2011. With other members of the Friends of Lambeth Libraries (FoLL), the chairman attended one of the hearings. We were present when the Commission visited the Durning and were able to highlight some of our long-standing concerns about the building. We have been involved in planning meetings about the scale and scope of the Commission’s public consultations and committee members have attended the public meetings held in different parts of the
borough. The chairman and treasurer had two meetings with Praveen Manghani, the Head of Libraries who arrived in July 2011, to discuss the implications for the Durning of the Commission’s work.
Since the report was published, we have arranged for a survey of Durning users to find out in detail what they wanted from the library service, particularly its location. The response was very good and showed a high level of support for staying in the Durning building if possible. We also held a well-attended public meeting on 27 February to hear views about the consultation document on the implementation of the Commission’s proposals. We are continuing to work closely with Lambeth officials and FoLL over the proposals for the future funding of the library service and the plans for ‘co-production
of the ‘co-operative libraries’ outlined in the consultation document.
Friends of Lambeth Libraries (FoLL). Laura Swaffield took over from Ian Adams as chairman in May 2011 and in that capacity served with the secretary, Pam Gray, on the Libraries Commission. FoLL has met three times during the year, twice in connection with the work of the Libraries Commission. Our thanks to Laura for taking on this position which has taken a lot of time and effort during the past year.
On behalf of the committee, I would like once more to thank our members for their support throughout the year. I would also like to thank my fellow committee members for their hard work and contributions to the collective effort; without them none of our activities would happen. We continue to be very grateful for the support of the Durning staff who have had an unusually difficult year.