LIBRARY NEWS

The Friends of Minchinhampton Library (FoML) was set up in as part of the nationwide  “Friends of the Libraries” movement that arose in response to the threatened closure of 400 of our statutory public libraries in England.  In Gloucestershire, since the campaign began in 2010, we have managed to save mobile libraries and five out of the twelve libraries due for closure and achieved improvements in the GCC “Community Library” package.

Their offer for the “Community Library” package now says that the Council will:

    • provide the community group with all book shelving and library furniture required to run a library
    • provide the group with the library’s collection of books
    • provide and support the library management system for issuing and returning books and for maintaining library membership
    • provide and support People’s Network PCS thereby providing all library users with access to the Internet and the Virtual Library
    • provide van collection services to deliver and  collect reserved books
    • provide training with setting up a library and follow up with further advice, guidance and support during the transition period
    • provide a Community Library Support Officer for ongoing advice providing 3 hours per week as support to each community library
    • liaise with our book suppliers to obtain discounts for provision of new books purchased by the community run organisation
    • provide a revenue stream of £10,000 p.a. to offset running costs.

and the “Premises Offer” reads as follows:

    • peppercorn rent and full repair lease for an agreed period
    •  up to 50% of sale proceeds to re-invest in an alternative community venue
    • sale of the library building with 20% discount off market value.

Although this falls short of our preferred aim of keeping a full statutory county library service in Minchinhampton, it does give us the basis for some kind of local library provision.

Accordingly, Friends of Minchinhampton Library, will now be disbanded with a big thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign. Hundreds of you wrote wonderful letters and emails to the GCC voicing your concerns and expressing powerfully how valuable our library was to you.  The FoML website received over 4,800 visits, and many of you have emailed us with your ideas and needs, and over the past 18 months FoML presented our case to Minchinhamton Parish Council and have had meetings with GCC and our MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who gave his time and support to our campaign.

If you would like to remain part of the national movement, link into the Friends of Gloucestershire libraries website which will keep you informed of any current moves to try to put pressure on the Department of Culture, Media & Sport to preserve our public libraries.

We understand that the changes at Minchinhampton Library could begin at the end of October 2012 and are due to be completed by April 2013 and that Minchinhampton Parish Council have organised a Community Trust to take over the running of the envisaged Community Library project. A Steering Group has been set up and Trustees appointed. The Chairperson of the Minchinhampton Community Library Trust is Chris Stone. The Community Library will be staffed and run by volunteers and the success of the venture will depend upon residents, so please become involved if you can.

Our nearest County Library will be in Nailsworth and their opening hours have been reduced to:

Monday 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm; Wednesday 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm;  Friday 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 6pm; and Saturday morning 10am – 1pm

Our Main County Library is Stroud which will be open:

Monday 9.30am – 6.30pm; Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm; Wednesday 9.30am -5pm;  Thursday 9.30am – 2pm;  Friday 9.30 – 6.30pm  and Saturday 9.30am – 4pm

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE MINCHINHAMPTON COMMUNITY LIBRARY TRUST PLEASE CONTACT CHRIS STONE VIA EMAIL cs@quadra-bec.co.uk

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