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Upper Norwood library to open for five days a week after £50k council pledge

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UPPER Norwood Library will be able to open for five days a week again after receiving a funding boost of almost £50,000 for this year.

Croydon Council has pledged an additional £47,500 for the past six months, matching the amount of money provided by its counterpart in Lambeth.

Croydon has also pledged to match Lambeth's funding over the next four years.

The library, in Westow Hill, has had to reduce its service to three days a week in recent years but will now be able to open for five.

Robert Gibson, co-chairman of the Upper Norwood Library Trust (UNLT), said: "This is recognition of how important it is to the local community. We had 2,000 consultation documents when it looked as if it was going to be sold off."

Mr Gibson gave special thanks to Upper Norwood councillor Pat Ryan for his passionate support of the library.

He said the plan is to have the library provide a wider range of services, including somewhere people can apply for benefits.

Mr Gibson said: "Part of what the council likes about our model is that we run it ourselves. The new council are more into their bottom-up provision and we want to make this into a community hub as it were.

"We will have falling literacy standards if something isn't done to protect our libraries."

Labour made the restored funding one of its main pledges in Upper Norwood in the run-up to this year's council election.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "We are passionate about ensuring Upper Norwood Library is a vibrant community hub which clearly has popular local support."

The previous Conservative administration in Croydon cut its funding to £70,000, while Lambeth is this year supporting the library to the tune of £180,000.

As well as a reduction in opening hours, there were also five redundancies, meaning there were only 12 staff left.

Mr Gibson added: "For more than 100 years Croydon and Lambeth have jointly funded our unique independent library which serves all of Crystal Palace, including over 19,000 Croydon residents."

Upper Norwood library to open for five days a week after £50k council pledge


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