Successful applicants have been named to take on the management and day-to-day running of five more Staffordshire libraries.
Contracts have been offered to a parish council, local community group, business enterprise organisation and two Rotary Clubs to take on the daily management and delivery of Staffordshire County Council’s libraries at Cheadle, Cheslyn Hay, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for libraries, said:
I am delighted by the quality of these successful bids and by the enthusiasm and ability of the groups who made them.
These agreements will bring the number of community managed libraries in Staffordshire to 27 in 2019 and we know from experience what an impact these groups can have in their local communities.”
Under the agreements community groups deliver the statutory library service and have access to the county’s stock and IT network, with support and guidance from officers, while the council remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.
The successful applicants are:
- Cheadle: The Cheadle Community Information and Resource Group;
- Cheslyn Hay: The Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix;
- Clayton: Business Enterprise Support Ltd, which already successfully manages nearby Silverdale library;
- Eccleshall: The Rotary Club of Eccleshall Mercia;
- Penkridge: Penkridge Parish Council.
The Rotary Club applications in Cheslyn Hay and Eccleshall follow the success of the Rotary Club of Rugeley’s management of Brereton library. The first time a Rotary club in the UK had taken on such a project, Rugeley’s success in Brereton has been reported as far away as Chicago.
Staffordshire’s community managed libraries now involve a range of organisations including local bodies, a church congregation and an NHS Trust.
Gill Heath added:
This move towards encouraging communities to become more involved with their local library, so that decisions can be taken at a local level to make them more responsive to community need, has been a great success.
We’re already seeing all sorts of services develop at them, such as medical drop-in centres, business start-up advice and baby massage classes, and it is an exciting time.”
Once the final details have been agreed, the management groups will take on their responsibilities in the spring and summer.