Library closures – Important update and tender opportunity

August 27, 2020


The details below are extracted from an email from the Library Service Project Team at Hants County Council, who can be contacted at libraries.smt@hants.gov.uk
“On the 28th July 2020, proposals to transform the Library Service to achieve savings of £1.76million were agreed by the Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward.  The decision was made following an extensive public consultation, which showed strong support for the County Council’s vision to adapt the Library Service to the changing needs of its customers.  Whilst the proposals were carefully designed to minimise the impacts on those who use libraries, difficult choices had to be made, including the decision  to close 8 libraries which are currently run by the County Council.   The libraries identified for closure are:  Blackfield, Elson, Fair Oak, Horndean, Lee-on-the-Solent, Lyndhurst, Odiham and South Ham.
As was made clear in the decision report, although the County Council has decided to close these libraries, it welcomes approaches from community groups or organisations who are interested in taking over the running of community services – either from the current buildings or elsewhere in the locality.   An Independent Community Library is one which is separate from the Local Authority’s statutory library network.  It is responsible for its own stock, membership, records, policies and procedures (including charging policies).
Councillor Woodward agreed a range of recommendations to bolster the support for community groups wanting to transition these libraries into an independent model, including:

  • An invitation for applications for one-off awards of up to £10,000 from the Recreation and Heritage Community Fund to support the transition of a Council-run Library to an independent library.
  • Independent libraries to have access to the Library Service Group Membership Scheme to refresh their physical stock and to reserve specific titles from the Hampshire Library Collection, including Ready Reads if collected on behalf of a Hampshire Library customer.
  • Officer support for up to one year to advise on the transition of library functions and the handover of property.

We are currently contacting local organisations who may be interested in running or being involved with the development of an Independent Community Library within their area.  If your organisation is interested in running an Independent Community Library in one of the areas identified then please complete and return the attached Expression of Interest Form – Independent Community Library newso that one of our officers can contact you to discuss this further.  Please note that in order to be eligible for consideration you will need to be part of a registered and structured organisation with a Constitution, Memorandum and Articles of Association or similar.
The closing date for receiving an Expression Of Interest from your organisation is Wednesday 30th September 2020.
If you would like to support an independent community library, but are not in the position to actually express an interest in running of the library, please could you respond to this letter with an indication of which of the eight listed libraries that you are interested in supporting, how you might like to help and a confirmation that you are happy for us to pass on your contact details to an organisation who has expressed interest in taking over the running of that library”
Contact email address: libraries.smt@hants.gov.uk
 

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