Community Managed and Supported Libraries

 

The Arts Council has now published the research that I worked on with Locality over the summer and autumn http://www.artscouncil.org.uk.  A twitter storm followed. I hope this will not get in the way of people looking at our findings which showed that 95% of libraries managed by their communities are still being supported by their local authorities, not cast entirely adrift as we might have imagined. It did show though that this is a growing trend and I understand the fears that this might seem an easy option. This is why we suggested some draft principles to guide discussion within councils and with communities.

Now, surely is the time to have a real dialogue on what ‘being supported’ has to look like to ensure that they are viable and sustainable. The communication lines have to stay open over the next few months as councils face yet more cost reductions. We need to learn from those councils who are developing new and innovative models of co- production, listening to those community partners who are accumulating experience on what it actually feels like, what needs to change? What more or different sort of support and skills are needed? The debate on this is kicking off at a conference organised by Locality on 5 March called Enterprising Community Libraries, though sadly I will miss it.

Journeys for Change

 

I will be in the middle of my own learning journey visiting social entrepreneurs in India, and am really delighted to be going: http://www.journeysforchange.org.  I will be blogging about my progress.

 

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