Sunday 11 March 2007

Carnegie Library, Herne Hill Road, Herne Hill

An ornate, grand, red and gold-brick Victorian building with dozens of large lead-paned windows, the Carnegie library is a well-preserved reminder of the money that used to be lavished on public amenities. An intricate tiled floor covers the large porch, which leads to a spacious room where half-a-dozen Internet terminals are surrounded by a modest collection of books and videos available for loan. The children's section, in an adjacent room, is better stocked, particularly with reference books. Sadly, many of the tomes haven't been borrowed since 2005 and, even on a Saturday morning, the Carnegie only hosts a handful of visitors at any given time. It sorely needs a cafe so that visitors can browse the books, or the Web, over a coffee and pastry. 5/10