Posted on Thursday 15th July 2021
A new management group is to be installed at Rising Brook Community Managed Library.
New managers are being recruited to run one of Staffordshire’s community libraries on a day-to-day basis.
They will take over the popular Rising Brook library in Stafford as the county council’s current five-year contract with Rising Brook Baptist Church is due to end later this year.
The library is one of 27 Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire, in which the management and day-to-day running is taken on by a community group, while the authority remains responsible for providing stock and IT and paying agreed utility and maintenance costs.
Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Culture, said:
Our Community Managed Library scheme has been a great success, with volunteer groups delivering our core service and supporting their local communities with a range of activities.
Rising Brook Baptist Church has played a large part in that story but as one chapter ends, another begins and we’re looking forward to announcing another management group in due course to continue the good work.”
The library’s opening hours will be unaffected by the changeover. Once the Church’s contract ends, Staffordshire County Council staff will coordinate volunteers until the new group is in place.
Liz Dipple, Director of Chaplaincy at Rising Brook Baptist Church, said:
We have valued our partnership with Staffordshire County Council and the experience of running the Community Managed Library at Rising Brook for the last five years.
It has been exciting to work alongside Staffordshire’s libraries team to develop such a capable and committed body of local volunteers for this important local service and also see the space used by an increasing number of groups and individuals.
The intensification of community work in our existing centre in Burton Square - especially during the Covid pandemic - has led us to the decision that a new partner would be best placed to grow the library into a unique community hub.
We look forward to welcoming fresh vision and resource to the area and anticipate continuing to work side by side with the library in providing for the neighbourhood.”
Elsewhere in Staffordshire, successful management groups include the Midlands Partnership NHS Trust, a Business Enterprise Group and many bodies formed from local communities including in Blythe Bridge, Shenstone and Penkridge.
One group, the Werrington Community Volunteer Group, has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary bodies.
And another, the Rotary Club of Rugeley, attracted worldwide interest from fellow Rotarians after becoming the first club in the UK to take on library management – at Brereton. And inspired by their colleagues the Rotary Club of Eccleshall quickly followed suit with their local library.
Victoria Wilson added:
Our community managed libraries keep evolving and now deliver, or soon will, everything from electric car hire and charging points, zero carbon initiatives and telephone ‘buddy’ services for the isolated, to ‘knit and natter’ groups, Baby Bounce and Rhyme sessions and take part in the Places of Welcome scheme.
Many of them used their network of contacts to support the vulnerable and the isolated during the pandemic and they are firmly established at the heart of their communities.”