Councillors are set to consider the recommendation for a revised timetable and greater investment into the Community Managed Library (CML) project to support the delivery of libraries so that they can continue to provide valuable services to the communities they serve.

In July 2017, Derby City Council committed to implementing a new vision for libraries, which included incorporating an option for community managed libraries as well as achieving budget savings of £673,000. The council has since embarked on reviewing and refining the CML Implementation Plan to give these savings the best opportunity to be realised whilst also giving the libraries an opportunity to remain open.

After extensive public consultation in 2016, ten libraries were identified for organisations and community groups to potentially operate. After an Expression of Interest process, in February 2018 a agreement was reached with Direct Help and Advice (DHA) to operate all ten libraries. The roll-out began with Sinfin Library in May 2018 closely followed by Spondon and Allestree in June and July 2018.

A Review of the Community Managed Libraries Implementation Plan was embarked on during August 2018 and it concluded that with sufficient timescales, funding and support, the CML model could provide a positive way forward to continue to deliver a sustainable library offer for the city. The outcome of the review therefore proposes that the Council commits further one-off funding of £400k to the project, with the timeline for the roll-out of the remaining seven libraries extended, enabling the transfers to take place until February 2020. With this proposal the council will aim to make the full savings required of £673,000 by 2021/2022.

Councillor Alan Grimadell, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, explains the reasons for the revised timescale:

“We committed to reviewing the Community Library Implementation Plan so we could fulfil the ambition to provide a sustainable library service for the city.

“Upon reviewing the inherited Community Managed Libraries scheme, we felt it was overly ambitious, unachievable and under-funded. The proposed revisions will give a better chance for a sustainable and financially viable library service that’s delivered in a more realistic and manageable timeframe.”

In July and August this year, a survey of library users from two of the transferred libraries, showed 94% of respondents were satisfied with the service they’ve received and 90% feeling valued as a customer.

If approved by Cabinet on 12th December, it is planned that the next library to be transfer to DHA will take place in February 2019.

For more information, please visit the InDerby website.