The proposals

Proposal 2

Work collaboratively with communities to identify how smaller and less well-used libraries could be sustained in new and innovative ways.

It is proposed that we will work with communities across Devon to identify how 28 smaller libraries could be sustained in the future.

There are a wide range of examples emerging across the country of communities working in new ways to co-produce libraries. These range from volunteer-run libraries, to those where local communities have fundraised or increased their local precept (tax) to maintain existing services. Others have located the library with other community facilities.

We are not proposing a single model because we recognise that individual communities will have different needs and aspirations for how their library service is delivered in the future, and whether the existing library building could be used for wider community benefit.

Models could include:

  • handing the library over to a local community group to be run as a voluntary service or trust, with possible local sponsorship or funding
  • working with a local business or social enterprise interested in taking on running one or more libraries as part of a strategy to develop their organisation’s impact
  • reducing the library service and moving other services into the library building
  • moving aspects of the library service into another service provider’s building
  • identifying a new building and moving aspects of the library into it, along with other service providers
  • considering how technology-based solutions might be used in rural areas.

We want to support communities and may be able to:

  • provide support and training to set up a preferred model
  • work with communities to identify the most appropriate and affordable ICT and system connectivity
  • provide refreshed stock.

We have identified 28 libraries which are potentially suitable for a community-led model.

Appledore Dartmouth
Ashburton Kingskerswell
Bampton Lynton
Bovey TraceyMoretonhampstead
Buckfastleigh Ottery St Mary
Budleigh Salterton Pinhoe
Chudleigh Salcombe
ChulmleighSt Thomas
Clyst Vale Stoke Fleming
Combe Martin

In Topsham, the County Council is progressing discussions with the Estuary League of Friends (ELoF) regarding the charity taking on the running of Topsham Library. In transferring responsibility for the site and the service to the charity, the ELoF plan to redevelop the site into a new building offering a range of community-based services which meet the broader needs of the local community, as well as sustaining local library provision.

Staffing and running costs of the 28 libraries proposed as suitable for community libraries would reduce by approximately 50%. As the models will be different across the county, there would need to be individual negotiations about the support needed in each case.

Give us your feedback on the proposals.