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About

Forest Hill Library has been open for over 100 years, and has been run by the community since 2016. As a member of Forest Hill library, you are also a member of all Lewisham libraries and can borrow and return your books at every location in the borough.  Forest Hill Library benefits from access to over a quarter of a million books owned by Lewisham Libraries, and a network of over five million books in the wider London system.

Our Community Partnership

As a community we were opposed to cuts in library services and we fought against them for as long as we could, but it eventually became clear that in this economic and political climate these current library cuts were inevitable. It was also clear that Lewisham Council, unlike many local authorities, took their library responsibilities seriously. The council were vehemently opposed to closing any libraries, they did not want to cut opening times, and were actively seeking partners who would run the libraries as libraries.

In early 2016 members of the Forest Hill Society and Forest Hill Traders’ Association had meetings to discuss the viability of forming a partnership to try and place a bid to run the library. We knew we needed another partner with experience of managing buildings and fund-raising community projects. We were delighted to find that V22, who were in the process of transforming neighbouring Louise House, had already considered bidding themselves, and that we all had the same ideas about providing a high quality library service for Forest Hill.

The Partners

V22

V22 is a multifaceted art organisation, with a shared ownership structure, which specialises in the collection of contemporary art, the production of exhibitions and events, the provision of artists’ studios, workspaces and artisans’ workshops at affordable rates, and the running of community engagement and education programmes.

V22’s mission is to build a new kind of art institution. Through V22’s shared ownership model key beneficiaries contribute to the decisions that affect V22 as well as its social impact and objectives. This means that the prevention of social ‘mission drift’ is intrinsically built into V22’s structure.

V22 have been responsible for the recent refurbishment and management of Louise House, next door to Forest Hill Library. They have also overseen the landscaping of the gardens around Louise House and the library.

Forest Hill Society

Forest Hill Society is a well‐established civic society. They have strong links with local residents and traders. The Town Centre has been top of the priorities for the Forest Hill Society since 2010. The Society has campaigned hard for investment in the Town Centre, successfully gathering over 12,000 signatures for petitions demanding a new pool complex and better transport connections. These community ties and reach, as well as interests and aspirations for the area, will be vital in forming a community library which meets the needs of the local population and continues to do so into the future.

Forest Hill Traders’ Association

The FHTA is a long-established group of local businesses, mostly retailers, that represents the trading community. The FHTA has a history of supporting and running local events for the community and raising funds for a variety of projects in the area.

FH Library Advisory Board

The advisory board advises the management board on decisions affecting the future of the library. Made up of key stakeholders representing existing and future library users, such as school teachers and librarians, spokespersons of local community groups, advisors from other community libraries, Lewisham Council officers and councilors, as well as influential and active local residents, this group will ensure that our community library is one which is truly run by and for the community.

You

If you are reading this you are probably an interested stakeholder and hopefully part of the future of Forest Hill Library. Please contact us should you have any queries or questions, suggestions, comments or offers of help. We are currently still a small team but will endeavor to answer all your questions either via email, through the website or in forums, or in person at the library.

Key People

The current management board of the library is made up of Michael Abrahams, Chair (Forest Hill Society); Tara Cranswick (V22); John Firmin (Secretary) & Bruce McRobie (V22). The General Manager for V22 Libraries at Forest Hill and Manor House is Simon Higgs and at Forest Hill the Assistant Manager is Stephen Bruce.

The board and management of Forest Hill library wish to express thanks to former and founding board members John Russell and Pauline Wright (FHTA) for their work, and their continued help and support in running this fantastic library.

Anchor Tenants

 

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“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein