South Norwood Library is on the move!

Why are we doing this?

In 2019, South Norwood library is moving to a new central location, 24 Station Road, providing an opportunity to deliver a ‘library for the future’ in a purpose-built space. In this building, the new library will be all on one floor and users will have access to the same number of books as now as well as more computer and study spaces. This is part of Croydon’s wider plans to develop the service by equipping our libraries with the latest digital technology, in fit-for-purpose buildings, so that more people can benefit from what is on offer.

Why move the library?

The  move  follows a building survey on the existing library that estimates it requires some £420,000 of modernisation and repairs to keep it operational for the next 20 years. 

The current building, which operates on five levels, has never been accessible for all visitors and ongoing issues with the lift have restricted access for some people to parts of the library. The multilevel layout does not provide opportunities to make changes that would support the development of an enhanced range of library services.

What will change?

The new flexible, attractive design will provide opportunities for much-needed alternative use outside of existing library hours, such as community events and adult learning classes, at a cost of £500k.

The existing building will still belong to the council and its future use will be considered as part of the wider improvements to the area. 

What do we want to know?

Have your say

We want to make sure we understand what local people want and need from the library service in South Norwood so that it can be designed to meet these needs. We also want to hear of any concerns you have about the library relocating so we can address these, and any suggestions for how the new building could be used out of library hours.

Please complete our short questionnaire to give your views (link below).

Image of proposed standard offering

Image of proposed out of hours offering

If you have any problems completing the questionnaire or would like it in a different format, please email


A report on future plans for South Norwood Library will be going to cabinet in 2018. Papers for this will be available on our website.

What we found out

422 people completed the online survey overwhelming the view was that moving the library to a new location on Station Road South Norwood was a positive step both for the library offer and as an improved space for the local community .

70% of the respondents had visited the existing library and many commented on the improved accessibility that would be offered  by the new space.

From the key questions on 'what was important'' these were the results.

Books 86.52%
Learning and study spaces 57.35%
Free Wi-Fi 52.21%
Computers and printers 49.26%
Easy access to online books and magazines 29.66%
A place to get training and learn new skills 39.95%
A place to access digital learning 32.60%
A community space for meetings 47.30%
A place to meet and talk to people 32.11%
Access to voluntary organisations, help groups and advice services 42.16%
A place to shop and/or eat 18.63%
A place that is open every day and in the evening 54.66%
Access to other council services either face to face or online 35.05%
Somewhere to find information 60.05%
Other 11.52%

Many people want to see extended hours including evening opening and more community activities delivered in the space outside the core library hours, providing a social space and  having the flexibility to support a range of activities was also raised.

It was reassuring that the age banding of respondents was well spread.

There were over 300 comments and these will all be considered at the next stage of the development, towards the end of this year, with a view to adapting the layout to ensure we take account of  many of these suggestions.

What difference has it made?

The engagement survey has confirmed that there is a strong local interest in our library service and in it providing a modern range of services including the book offer.

It confirmed that the move to a single level space on a busy road was seen as positive step both in providing a better library offer but also in supporting the regeneration of the area.

Every comment and suggestion will be considered in the next stage of providing  this new library space and in developing the model we will deliver alongside the core library offer.

This is an opportunity to start the process of not only modernising our library estate but also to ensure we provide a library services that people want and services that are relevant to the community needs as a whole.

Location:  London Borough of Croydon
Start date21 November 2017
End date24 January 2018
Report available24 January 2018
Reference year2017
Methods Groups- Focus Groups, Questionnaire - Online
Who can take part? Residents, General public, People who do not use the service, Young People, Members, All - everyone invited to take part
Topic Area Community and life events, Leisure and culture