More community managed libraries

Regular readers of my blog will be aware of our work to ensure that our libraries are fit for the future and are affordable. Part of this work has involved encouraging communities to become more involved with their local library or even managing them.

The approach has been a huge success and following our last round of applications, an additional five libraries will become community managed. These agreements will bring the number of community managed libraries in Staffordshire to 27.

It is an exciting time and we are seeing a broad range of organisations getting involved, including local bodies, community groups, a church, an NHS Trust and even a Rotary Club. We are also seeing all sorts of new services develop at Community Managed Libraries, such as medical drop-in centres, business start-up advice and baby massage classes.

One of the advantages of this approach is that decisions can be taken at a local level, making our libraries more responsive to community need. In the new way of working, community groups deliver the statutory library service and have access to the county’s stock and IT network, with support and guidance from officers, while the council remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.

The successful applicants are:

  • Cheadle Library: The Cheadle Community Information and Resource Group;
  • Cheslyn Hay Library: The Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix;
  • Clayton Library: Business Enterprise Support Ltd;
  • Eccleshall Library: The Rotary Club of Eccleshall Mercia;
  • Penkridge Library: Penkridge Parish Council.

And remember, almost all our libraries have opportunities to volunteer in them and you can find out more in my last blog post here or at the Libraries Volunteer website.

The Libraries and Arts Service also have their own Blog which provides monthly updates of activities in Community Managed Libraries and also volunteering in County Council Managed libraries. The link is here

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