New book and vinyl store opens to fund Forest Hill Community Library – Eastlondonlines

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Simon Higgs. Photo: Holly Pyne

A new book and vinyl store has opened in Forest Hill to raise funds for the local community library.

Sheet and groove, a used book and vinyl store is the latest addition to Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill and although the store is independent of Forest Hill Community Library, all proceeds will go towards the maintenance of the library, which became independent from Lewisham Council over a year ago.

Simon Higgs, the owner, told EastLondonLines: “We wanted to make sure we could keep the library open seven days a week so people can come when they need it – they know we’re always open. The store helps us cover the daily costs of running the library. We also had the opportunity to transform the abandoned space that was here before into something positive. “

Sheet and groove. Photo: Holly Pyne

The store filled a space that had been empty eight years before Leaf & Groove and had caused horror on the road. Leaf & Groove has raised money through Spacehive, a crowdfunding website specifically for local projects, and has raised £ 19,792 through the site alone.

Forest Hill Library became a community library in October 2016 and is now run by V22, an artistic organization, The Forest Hill Company and Forest Hill Traders Association. Two other libraries, Manor House and Torridon Road, were also transformed into community-run libraries at the same time.

Lewisham now has nine community libraries and just four public libraries in the borough, which are located in Lewisham, Catford, Deptford and Downham.

Sheet and groove. Photo: Holly Pyne

Forest Hill Library has continued to do well since becoming community-run and has seen an 11% increase in monthly visitors between January and March of this year alone. The total number of monthly visitors for the year 2016/17 was also high at 131,799 visitors, making it the third most visited community library in the borough.

The Forest Hill Community Library also had a high number of readers for the Summer reading challenge This year. The challenge takes place every year and to complete it, children must read six library books during their summer vacation, one per week.

The library had the second highest number of children starting the challenge and the third highest number of children completing it of any Lewisham library.

Higgs Community Spirit at Forest Hill Important: “People have really supported the library since it became community run, and now the store. There is certainly a strong community spirit in Forest Hill which is unique.

“We had an interesting opening week, with snow and road works right outside the store, but it’s been great and we’ve made almost £ 1,000 already.”

Leaf & Groove can be found at 57 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3HN.


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