A brand new state-of-the-art library in the heart of Clapham has opened its doors this week.
At a time when some cash strapped councils are closing libraries and public finances are being squeezed, Lambeth Council is bucking the trend by opening the brand new £6.5 million public library on Clapham High Street.
Open seven days a week, it will house more than 20,000 books, and comes complete with a performance space for use by local community groups.
The building features a number of services under one roof including a new medical centre, café, internet zone and community rooms.
There are also 34 computers available for public use, and the building has free wi-fi access.
And despite the £6.5 million construction costs, the library has come at no cost to the public purse as the building has been paid for entirely by the sale of 136 residential flats that form part of the new 12 storey development.
Featuring a distinctive spiral design that draws inspiration from Manhattan’s famous Guggenheim Museum, the library has been designed by world famous London based architects Studio Egret West. The glass fronted ground floor building makes full use of natural light, with books arranged in a spiral pattern around mezzanine floors that surround an open plan ground floor space.
The entire development has been built according to the most stringent environmental criteria. Carbon emissions have been reduced to 30 per cent below normal standards and normal water usage reduced by 30 per cent.
It is located in the heart of Clapham in the High Street, on the site of a former office block, Mary Seacole House.
Cllr Lib Peck, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategic Housing, and Thornton ward councillor, said: ““This is a beautiful library and a fantastic achievement for Labour Lambeth. It is a great addition to the high street and will benefit the whole community providing plenty of space for learning, reading and meeting.
I feel very proud that despite an economic recession we have managed to deliver a iconic building, which has already secured highly commended by local government awards and was recently lauded by the Evening Standard, and at minimal cost to the tax payer.
It is, of course, great to see Lambeth opening libraries when so many other boroughs are closing them.”
The library is the second major new public building to open in Clapham in just 6 months, after the brand new Clapham Leisure Centre opened just a few hundred yards away on Clapham Manor Street as part of the same award winning ‘Clapham One’ regeneration scheme.
The landmark £80m scheme has seen Lambeth Council working with private developer Cathedral Group, United House and Notting Hill Housing Trust to transform leisure facilities in Clapham, funded entirely from the sale of private sector flats that form part of both developments.
The library building also contains a new medical centre thanks to a partnership between the council and the NHS. Andrew Eyres, Managing Director for NHS Lambeth, said:
“Reaching this stage is excellent news. This is an exciting opportunity for NHS Lambeth to work closely with the council on a project that brings together health and leisure on one site. This will be a great resource and is a significant step to improving the health and well-being of the people of Lambeth.”
Clapham Library is open:
- Monday – 1 to 8pm
- Tuesday – 10am to 6pm
- Wednesday – 10am to 8pm
- Thursday – 10am to 8pm
- Friday – 10am to 6pm
- Saturday – 9am to 5pm
- Sunday – 1 to 5pm
While other boroughs are closing libraries, Lambeth Council has committed to keeping every library in Lambeth open and has pledged significant investment to improve buildings and introduce new technology.
The new library is situated at the Mary Seacole Centre, 91 Clapham High Street, SW4 7DB.
You can find out more information on the Lambeth Libraries website, as well as registration form and the online library catalogue.