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Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening?

Libraries need to continue to change if they are to be sustainable and relevant to people’s lives into the future. Library use continues to fall as more people go online to read and access information, and pressures on budgets have never been greater.

Proposals to increase self-service hours, change the Mobile and Travelling Library Service and develop more Community Managed Libraries will now be implemented following a public consultation and a decision made by the county council’s Cabinet.

Why is it happening?

Library use continues to fall as more people go online to read and get information. Pressures on budgets have never been greater – the county council will receive no central government funding by 2020/21. At the same time, demand for services such as adult social care continues to increase.

Staffordshire’s Library Service is continuing to transform so that it remains relevant in the digital age, maintains a presence at the heart of our communities and is affordable for the future.

What is a Community Managed Library (CML)?

CMLs are libraries that managed and delivered on a day to day basis by a community group. 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.

Over a dozen expressions of interest were received from organisations interested in managing and delivering either Cheadle, Clayton, Penkridge or Eccleshall libraries. 

What will happen now?

The changes will be made gradually to make sure that together we get it right.

  • From September 2018 - Cheadle Library, Penkridge Library, Eccleshall Library and Clayton Library will be put forward, as part of a formal procurement process, to become a Community Managed Library (CML).

Having the community at the heart of making decisions about the library will help revitalise them and reduce the number of fully-funded county council libraries.  We will encourage applications from community groups during this time. 

There are already 22 libraries in Staffordshire that are CMLs – where the library is managed and delivered by community groups who manage a team of volunteers.  Read more about Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire.

  • In December 2018 – A panel of experts will evaluate the applications.
  • From January 2019 – We will support the community organisations chosen to run Cheadle, Penkridge, Eccleshall or Clayton Library with a comprehensive training programme.
  • After April 2019 – The community organisations will take over the day to day management and delivery.
  • From April 2019 – Implement the revised timetable for the Mobile Library Service to prioritise visits to isolated communities with the greatest need.PDF Document Where the Mobile Library will stop from April 2019 (323 KB). The Travelling Library will be withdrawn. 
  • After July 2019 – Begin the trial of self-service technology at Stafford Library.

You can read more about the changes in the Cabinet paper.

Why have Clayton, Cheadle, Eccleshall and Penkridge been proposed to be Community Managed Libraries?

These libraries are the least ‘busy’ county council managed libraries.

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

There are already 22 libraries in Staffordshire that are CMLs – where the library is managed and delivered by community groups who manage a team of volunteers.

In these libraries we are working with a range of local groups, 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.

Having the community at the heart of making decisions about the library will help revitalise them and reduce the number of fully-funded county council libraries. Read more about Community Managed Libraries.

What support will the organisations managing the Community Managed Libraries receive?

We will support the community organisations chosen to run Cheadle, Penkridge, Eccleshall 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.

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

No. These changes only apply to Stafford Library and the Mobile and Travelling Library Service.

PDF Document Where the Mobile Library will stop from April 2019 (323 KB). The Travelling Library will be withdrawn. 

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

Read some of the examples of Community Managed Libraries that are currently operating and then contact us at connectedlibraries@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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.

Can’t you find savings elsewhere, like in management?

Libraries have already undergone a significant programme of change which has delivered £1.675m of savings in the last 4 years. This included changes to management structures and reductions to back office support. To work within the available budget we need to make further changes so that our libraries are affordable.

I have another question - what do I do?

Please email us at connectedlibraries@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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