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Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet member for Communities, is pictured outside Brereton Library with, left, Ron Ashley, President of the Rotary Club of Rugeley, and his fellow Rotarian John Wilson.

UK first for Staffordshire library

A group with more than a million members worldwide is celebrating a UK first by taking on the day-to-day management of a local library.

The Rotary Club of Rugeley is now running Staffordshire County Council’s library in Brereton.

Ron Ashley, President of the Rotary Club of Rugeley, said:

This is the first time one of Rotary’s 1,800 UK clubs has done this and there is a great deal of interest within the organisation nationally in what we’re doing.

Rotary’s ethos is about public service and one of our cornerstones is promoting literacy, so this seemed an ideal opportunity to combine those ideas and make a difference in our community.”

Brereton library is one of 23 in Staffordshire which has transferred, or is in the process of transferring, to community management. A further 20 are under the direct control of the county council.

The arrangement sees the management and day-to-day running of the library taken over by the community group, which has access to the library service’s stock and IT network, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.

Other managers of community libraries include local bodies, a church congregation and business enterprise group.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Communities, said she was delighted that the Rotary Club of Rugeley is taking on Brereton library. She added:

This move towards putting smaller libraries in the hands of the communities they serve, so decisions can be taken at a local level to make them more responsive to community need, has been a great success.

The common themes among the groups selected to take on the management are enthusiasm, experience, skills and, above all, a passion to make each library responsive to local people.

We’re already seeing all sorts of services develop at our community libraries, such as medical drop-in centres, hairdressing and baby massage classes, and it is an exciting time.”

The Rotary Club of Rugeley is part of the global Rotary International family with 1.2 million members.

Ron Ashley said:

We have many plans for the future of the library. We plan to make it a community hub where residents can attend for just a chat and a cup of tea or coffee if they want.

Additional activities within opening hours are to be introduced and already there are children’s story time sessions; coffee mornings and a craft group.”

Anyone is welcome to visit the library on Talbot Road, Brereton, to see what is on offer or to make suggestions for future uses of the library.

 

Notes for editors

Rotary Club of Rugeley was founded in 1949 and is a member of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. There are more than 1,800 Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland and 50,000 members. Rotary is open to anyone aged 18 and upwards. All that is required is a positive attitude and a sense of adventure.

Rotary International was founded in 1905 in Chicago and is now the world’s largest international service organisation with 1.2 million men and women as members. There are 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas. To find out more, visit www.rotarygbi.org .