Winter Update Edition    
 Editor : P. Richardson   

This is the official Newsletter of The Users & Friends of Manor House Library    

January 2009

Apology: Regretfully, no ‘Winter Warmer’ edition of "The Manor View" has been produced this year, as there has been little activity, due to the on-going refurbishment of the Manor House, an update of which follows.

Manor House Project Update

The last Project Meeting was held on 7th November last year which gave us all a conducted tour of the house and a look at the latest plans.

Pictured is the main library floor taken on the 7th November 2008, viewed from the existing adult library through what used to be central area and on to the Children’s Library. As you can see, the refurbishment is steadily coming to fruition. Much of the work has been done, (despite apparent evidence to the contrary!). But, like many other building projects, the finished product just suddenly appears! We now look forward to that happy event. We were told that the finished library will open on 9th March 2009, which just happens to be the date that the Mayor’s Commission on Libraries and Learning is due to become public. More of that later.

However, both the building contractors and the architect registered some doubt that this ambitious date could be met. Already the eastern wing alterations revealed lack of substantial footings and consequent delays, which has caused an over-run of the estimated completion date.
An important administration statement was made, that the house management would rest on the Library Manager once the property is re-opened. No new post would be created.

Landscaping and Security

Martin Hyde, Parks Regeneration Manager, was invited to this Project Meeting for the first time. Within the discussions, it was agreed that because of varying daylight hours and static hours of opening, responsibility for the locking of the Library gates would be shared between Glendales and the Library Manager. A great discussion took place as to the point of retaining the low fence between the entrance to the park and the house property came to no specific conclusion. The problem is the fence will end where it currently forms a corner with the existing rear fence which terminates on the wall of Pentland House. Under current plans to open the park to the house and vice versa, that rear fence will be removed, with only the house entrance gates preventing (and not 24/7) free movement from and to Old Road. In addition, there are no plans to re-instate the railing fence that once topped the house wall between the entrance gates. In this way it presents a security problem for both the house and the gardens. This appeared difficult for Martin Hyde to comprehend - as it did for Peter and to which he objected, when the proposal was first made. Martin requested a re-appraisal of the plans for the fences and gates. We have e-mailed the Library Service requesting a meeting to include the Safer Neighbourhood Team, on grounds of security. As you will recall, Peter’s concern was protection of the house and its contents, being particularly vulnerable from the park once that rear fence was removed. This problem has not gone away. All of the shrubbery, and some trees, along that rear fence are earmarked for removal. Shrubbery along the dividing fence, which might yet be retained, will also be removed. The flower beds and shrubbery along the front wall abreast of Old Road may also be removed, the ‘garden’ being put out to grass. Responsibility for upkeep of the garden is to be transferred to Glendales on completion of the refurbishment.
At the rear of the property, the "relaxation" area outside the crèche caused great controversy for all present. It seems the area, will be lower than the surrounding land and was intended to be grassed. Martin Hyde was baffled by this suggestion as was the Glendale’s local manager, Adrian Wickham as well as Peter. When details of the fencing of this area were disclosed, (a low, step-over fence) Martin asked for it to be referred, on the grounds that anyone could so easily snatch a child. A final point on the landscaping plans was finally admitted, as Peter had reported at the time, that the grade II gate post at the entrance, was hit by a vehicle attempting entry, at the start of the refurbishment (refer The Manor View, Spring 2008). Three disabled and 4 unrestricted car parking spaces will be set in the front garden of the house. We have written to the Traffic and Regeneration Depts. and the Mayor, due to plans to extend the existing CPZ based on Old and Bankwell Roads. Inadequate parking facilities will limit full use of the House and Library. The good news is for cyclists. Although the cycle stands on either side of the portico are to be removed, a bank of stands will be located to the east of the new east wing entrance.

Library Layout

Tenders for furniture supply had been advertised and four returns had been received. All of these were priced under budget. At the time of our last meeting, two had been short-listed. The award was to be temporarily suspended pending details of the final fit-out. However, the plans offered at the meeting show the Children’s Library remaining where it is currently located, with fixed shelves lining the wall. There is provision also for seating and two standard round tables with two seats for each and one small round table with 4 small seats around it. There will be two children’s dedicated computer terminals on a half-moon table with two seats situated in what was the fireplace.
Double opening doors will allow for through-put or closure during ‘storytime’ to the left of the "welcome" area entrance, with the main bay window ahead of you. (see photo) In this area, there will be two ‘Quick-pick’ stands, featuring best sellers etc. and a large sofa. There is also a shelf of periodicals and two round tables in the bay with two seats in the bay plus several shelves projecting in to the area. Although a wi-fi hot spot, there will be no fixed computer terminals here. 16 internet-ready computer terminals are to be scattered throughout the adult library and the basement ‘quiet area’, where additional catalogue-computers are also located. A ‘Self-Issue/Return’ bay is situated on the wall separating the ‘welcome’ area from the lobby.
In the main adult library, to the western wing of the building, is a "staff pod" and several shelving units. Shelving also line the walls. In the northwestern corner, to the front of the building abreast of Pentland House, is a dedicated ‘Teen Area’ which will have a sofa, a standard round table with three chairs and two of the 16 computer terminals located on a half-moon bench between two of the windows overlooking the front garden. A Self Issue/Return bay is situated to the east of this. Two additional round tables with 3 chairs are located to the south of the access pit on the western wall which provides a single story lift and stairs to the basement quiet area. On the southern wall, two computer terminals are located near the fire-exit to the left of which is a ‘Help Point’ and a catalogue computer. Additional computer terminals and the photocopier will be located alongside the wall separating the lobby and adult library.
The quiet area in the basement provides the remaining computer terminals and study area. Three round tables with 3 chairs each are located here. A 4-terminal bench is located to the south close to a French window in the southwestern corner. At the northwestern corner, 4 more computers are located. Shelves line the other three walls. Those to the south of the access pit form the non-fiction area of the library.

Remaining Spaces and Business Plan

The remainder of the basement, inaccessible from the basement library annexe, houses the crèche, and classrooms and toilets. The area is to be sub-let to the Children’s Centre. The East Wing provides disabled access and disabled toilets. It is anticipated, that these spaces will be used exclusively by the Children’s Centre, 9 am to 5 pm, releasing them for community use thereafter which must be rented via the sub-letee. The first floor function room, The Baring Room, and the 2nd floor Function Room will be available to rent via the library manager. There is talk of the upper function room being primarily a training venue. Fees may be set according to the intended use and for whom, as appropriate to Community needs. Town Centre Manager, Joan Middleton, has been tasked to contact local businesses and offer marketing material to the Chamber of Commerce.
Additional spaces are set out for access and escape routes, tea and coffee kitchens,
toilets for everyone, staff room, climate control and water-heating, power terminals and storage.
In the basement, there is even a room to store baby-buggies!

General Information

Head of Libraries, John Hughes,
presenting The Future of Lewisham Libraries at Downham
Much emphasis has gone in to the introduction of large format screens in public libraries, with Roy Clare, Head of Museums, Libraries and Archives being a major proponent. Manor House Library will have these. Similar to Downham, there will be one in the Teen area and of course in the main library there will be more, one of which will be tuned to 24 hour news. One of the spaces is intended to be a cinema, as at Downham. The LCD screen for this was part-funded by the Lee Green Ward Locality Fund for financial year 2008/9. This was organized by your ward councillors on behalf of the community.
In the previous financial year, The Users and Friends of Manor House Library won a Locality Fund award to purchase an external notice board, including the cost of installation. Though already purchased, it is currently held in store and is intended to be placed in the front garden of the library, once refurbishment is complete.
Plans for art exhibitions in the house are being made, and perhaps a return of the fabulous "Teatro Vivo".

Members of your group committee are finalizing details of decoration for The Baring Room. A Layout Plan of the main part of the library is shown below.

Layout Plan of Main Library Floor

And Finally: The Mayor’s Commission on Libraries and Learning is due to report its findings on 9th March, 2009 - the anticipated Opening Day for your new library........ Details of the Library Service and Community Education Lewisham, and its impact on you, will be disclosed. Meanwhile........

Watch this space!