Forest Hill Library is a community-run library. The library is situated on Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, in the South East London Borough of Lewisham. We are part of V22 Communities, a registered charity that also operates Louise House Community Studio, Sydenham Library and Manor House Library.
Forest Hill Library is one of over 600 Carnegie libraries built across the UK at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was run by the local authority until 2016 when pressures on funding caused Forest Hill library to be one of four libraries earmarked for change. In the case of Forest Hill, a tender process was enacted and we put together a community partnership bid that was approved by Mayor & Cabinet to manage the building and run the library in continued partnership with Lewisham Libraries.
We raised over £10,000 with an online crowd-funder in the late Autumn 2016 in just over 8 weeks with an original target of just £6,000. There are many different types of model for running community libraries and local authorities have approached the community model in different ways, but we believe ours is one of the most successful in the country, a truly sustainable model that was able to maintain the footprint of the original library and keep a seven day opening throughout the year.
A Community Partnership
The Forest Hill Library community bid was put together by V22 – the organisation which runs neighbouring Louise House; The Forest Hill Society – the main residents’ association in SE23; and The Forest Hill Traders’ Association – a local business forum. A management board of their members, and an advisory board made up of local interest groups helps keep our focus firmly on the community we serve, allowing for demand led services and inclusivity.
Help us Build for the Future
A community-run library means just that, and we really need the support of our community to keep our library great and to make it even better. Please consider volunteering your time to help us run the library or to provide additional related services. Volunteer
Book donations and financial contributions are always welcome, please see Leaf & Groove for more information about donating books, records, CDs and DVDs. We also have a Friends of Forest Hill Library scheme where you can help us by making a regular donation equivalent to less than the price of a cup of coffee each month, or simply make a one-off donation to help keep us going.