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Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening?

Following a decision by the county council’s Cabinet, Eccleshall, Penkridge, Cheadle, Clayton and Cheslyn Hay libraries are to become Community Managed Libraries (CMLs).

Community groups or organisations who are passionate about their library are being encouraged to apply to take on the day-to-day management and delivery of their library, and also use the rest of the library space in the best way to suit the needs of their community.

Over a dozen informal expressions of interest were received from organisations interested in managing and deliveringtheir library earlier in the year during the public consultation. Anyone interested should apply before the deadline on Monday 26th November 2018. 

What is a Community Managed Library (CML)?

CMLs are libraries that are managed and delivered on a day-to-day basis by a community group or organisation who manage a team of volunteers.  There are currently 20 in Staffordshire.

As well as running the library and managing a team of volunteers, they can use the library space in the best way to meet the needs of the community – many CMLs give access to friendship groups, medical professionals, etc. The aim is to revitalise libraries and keep them connected to the community they serve.

Examples of Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire.

Why have Clayton, Cheadle, Eccleshall, Cheslyn Hay and Penkridge libraries been chosen to become Community Managed Libraries?

These libraries are the least ‘busy’ county council managed libraries.  We can see from the 20 libraries that are already community-managed that when local people take  the lead they become more  central to community life and more financially sustainable.

How do you know that Community Managed Libraries work in Staffordshire?

There are already 20 community libraries in Staffordshire.

These libraries are managed and delivered by a range of local groups, including a health trust, a church, Rotarians and a business enterprise group. One group, the Werrington Community Volunteer Group, has just received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary groups.

There are many stories of how community - managed libraries are making a difference to the local community. Read more about Community Managed Libraries.

What would the responsibilities of the managing community group be?

Successful applicants will be supported by the county council to take over the day-to-day running and management of their library. They will still have access to the county service’s stock and IT network, while the county council continues to pay for agreed utility and maintenance costs. A comprehensive training package is also  available. The community group would manage a team of volunteers to help run the library on a day-to-day basis.

What is the process of application?

Anyone interested in managing and developing their library need to apply through the procurement process.

1)    Review the key information about Cheadle, Cheslyn Hay, Penkridge, Eccelshall or Clayton Library

4)    Go to the procurement portal  – available from Friday 28th September and apply before the deadline on Monday 26th November.

Help is available for any group of individuals interested in coming together as a group to submit an application.

What support will the organisations managing the libraries receive?

We will support the community organisations chosen to run Cheadle, Penkridge, Eccleshall, Cheslyn Hay or Clayton Library with a comprehensive training programme.

The training includes support in relation to the Library Offer, premises management, health and safety, information governance and data protection, publicity, recruitment of volunteers and the development of committee skills and structures.

Practical and financial help is also available – the county council will continue to pay for agreed utility and maintenance costs, and a paid member of staff will be available to support the group and help with practicalities during the early stages.

Do any of these changes affect libraries that are already Community Managed and Delivered?

No. Only Cheslyn Hay, Cheadle, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge libraries are being offered  as CMLs.

What should I do if I am interested in finding out more about what running a Community Library involves?

Read and watch some of the examples of Community Managed Libraries that are currently operating and then contact us at connectedlibraries@staffordshire.gov.uk if you want an informal conversation.

What is going to happen to staff in my library?

It is too early to comment upon staffing arrangements for the library service. However while the service may not require as many paid members of staff in the future, we are committed to to retaining a library team who provide support, advice and training to volunteers and.retaining a library team who provide support, advice and training to volunteers and Community Managed Libraries.


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