Proposed changes to the Library and Information service

Proposed changes to the Library and Information service

Find out about proposed cuts to the Library and Information service.

Why we need to make changes to the Library and Information service

The Government has cut our funding by 60% since 2010 and we are being forced to find further cuts totalling £30 million by 2021.

These cuts, combined with increased demand on our services, mean that by 2020 we will have lost over £190 million each year.

The £450,000 cut to your Library and Information Service is part of proposals to find £21 million of council-wide cuts over the next two years.

The proposed changes

We are proposing to restructure the library service to reduce staff cost. This means less library staff would be available in Lewisham Library, Downham Library and Deptford Lounge so we can meet the £450,000 cut.

We could do this by either:

  • removing staff from Downham Library and Deptford Lounge and making them self-service, with occasional visits from library staff


  • reducing the time that staff are available in Lewisham, Downham, Deptford and libraries from 64 hours a week to 35 hours a week – the buildings would remain open on a self-service basis outside those hours.

Over 70% of the budget for the Library and Information Service is spent on staffing.

The impact of the proposed changes

Staff cuts will significantly reduce our ability to provide library services to residents. This means libraries will provide less support with online and information services, including:

  • general enquiries
  • parking permits
  • freedom passes
  • eAdmissions
  • digital learning
  • the printing service
  • help with job seeking and more.

Antisocial behaviour in libraries is also likely to increase during unstaffed hours.

What is not changing

Library closures

There are no proposals to close any library. The option of closing a library has been ruled out.

Opening hours

Library opening hours will stay the same as they are now. It is the hours when library staff are available that could reduce.

Stock levels

The level of library stock and online services will not change.

Community libraries

We have no plans to change the community libraries. These proposals relate to the staff across the service and in hub libraries. Some support that we currently provide to community partners may decrease.

What happens now

The budget cuts proposals have not yet been agreed by the mayor and councillors. The proposals will be discussed by six select committees, the overview and scrutiny committee and by Mayor and Cabinet.

The budget for next year (2019/20) will be set at a meeting of Council in February 2019.

Have your say on the proposals

We will be consulting on the proposals from 30 November 2018 to 28 January 2019 and we want to hear your views. There will also be three public meetings in Deptford, Lewisham and Downham.