Council assistance for volunteers


Volunteers need a lot of assistance in order to run libraries that would otherwise closed.  This page lists assistance that different councils have offered:

  • BoltonGroups would need to pay for rent and running costs, including repairs (£57,000 in the case of one branch which needs roof repairs).  Council will pay for bookstock, publicity on council website, initial training/set-up/support.
  • CambridgeshireLocal community to pay £20,000 per year for running costs, libraries to be self-service and largely volunteer-run but “directed by a member of the libraries’ central team”.
  • CamdenThree libraries to be run by community groups, with aid of £100,000 for each group. “The three community groups successfully met the Council’s criteria of delivering a viable and sustainable business model and appropriate self governance. In return they will benefit from support for their running costs for the first year, from April 2012, and one-off grants to help them get started.”
  • Conwy – ““Conwy Council will continue to provide 3,000 books, four computers and 15 hours of staff time each week.” but not maintenance costs.
  • Croydon – Upper Norwood Joint Library offered building at peppercorn rent but not repairs/insurance.  Joint budget from Croydon and Lambeth councils would be £120k less than existing budget (9/9/12).
  • Doncaster – “Each library will still receive new books, have computers and internet facilities, and will still have events and activities for children and adults run by the council’s library staff.”
  • Dorset –  “fully independent and self-governed but supported with staffing, books and IT services worth £5,500 each year”.  Council also giving “gift of a freehold or long leasehold interest in the library buildings” it owns.  To be continued on a three (possibly five) rolling basis.  “the council has agreed to ensure that all the buildings are in a reasonable state of repair before handover”
  • Ealing – Four libraries will have some council staffing and be “run through community management with assistance from the council”
  • Gloucestershire
    • 2012: “”The council proposes to offer community-run libraries the chance to buy library buildings or take over leases on a peppercorn rent, and an annual grant of £10,000.” (30/3/12).
    • 2011: These were the options before a successful legal challenge prevented the plans: Different deals for different branches.  Berkeley will have a peppercorn rent for building and £2,500 start-up grant, books reservable from council stock but no council bookfund for library.  A different library, Hester’s Way, will be given to a community group to be used as housing so that it’s income can pay for a library at the Oasis Youth Centre.  Oasis group will also be given £20,000 for for years. Minchinhampton will have £10,000 grant from council to supply 10 hours staffing per week (5 if no volunteer forthcoming).  Standard offer is books, shelves and library furniture, library computer system and IT support, van service for books, training, named council contact, book discounts, some funding (“revenue stream to offset running costs”)
  • Kirklees“The proposal is that Kirklees Council will provide guidance to interested community groups and individuals, including training, a regular supply of books, maintenance of public access computers and additional support to ensure the continuation of a high quality library service.”
  • North Yorkshire – Volunteer-run libraries will “be supported with accommodation, bookstock, IT facilities and broadband connectivity” plus some paid staff support.  The council has offered Great Ayton Library campaigners “, in return for the devolving of responsibilty, a peppercorn rent, a member of staff to visit once a month to train volunteers, to replenish book stocks, to provide an IT service, and also a possible one-off amount to help develop the building into a sustainable community building.”
  • Oxfordshire – Up to three years between announcement and fully passing over library to volunteers. “The council promised to provide free buildings, books, access to the council’s computer network and professional support from librarians to all of Oxfordshire’s libraries. But many would have to recruit volunteers over the next three years to replace paid staff” (Oxford Mail). Council expects friends groups to pay for CRB checks on volunteers.
  • Somerset –  1 Council employee (£5k one-off  “priming grant”) who will train volunteers, £900 to pay for library computers (staff and public access). 2-year rent-free lease for Bishops Lydeard including everything within it (desks, shelving, books) but no ongoing funding.
  • Wakefield£100,000 fund to be split between those wanting to take over any of the 12 threatened libraries, groups can apply for one off funding up to a maximum of £12,500 per group.  In addition, Council is also offering, off catalogue book stock, donations, access to surplus fixtures and fittings and some initial training as well as advice and support from Locality.
  • Waltham ForestAn ex Waltham Forest Direct Shop, with books and computers supplied by the council.
  • Warwickshire – Between 300 and 500 new books per year to each library, plus a regular exchange of books to refresh stock. Public access computers with broadband internet access, supported by the county council’s IT service and with access to the council’s library management system.  Self-service technology units, book shelving and furniture.  Three hours’ staffing support each week, with the option for communities to fund additional time.  Council will charge £3000 p.a. for computers if in existing building, £10,000 setup (plus £2k p.a.) if in new building. Initial training and support to help establish the new service but then further charging of volunteers will be charged at £80 per hour. “We are prepared, in principle, to consider leasing council-owned library buildings at a peppercorn rent to communities submitting a strong business case.”
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