Friends of Pevensey Bay Library
Branch libraries are closing throughout the country in response to the spending cuts imposed by removal of central government grant to local authorities. As a consequence, community libraries have sprouted up in order to ‘save’ library services. But what is being ‘saved’?
Are these new community libraries being reduced to mere paperback exchanges operated by volunteers with an out of date book stock of limited range, or are they offering an improvement through provision of wide ranging events in addition to a quality library service (which we hope will happen in Pevensey Bay)?
The answer depends on which community libraries you look at because there is no national standard that they are required to meet.
Recent research by the government on the success of community libraries is available on the following link: Government research on Sustainability of Community LIbraries
The research indicates that CMLs can offer a better range of services to communities but that there are significant issues arising over their financial sustainability and the availability of ongoing volunteer resources.
Other research has highlighted the lack of consistency across the country in provision of community managed library services: Are Community managed Libraries Effective?
A Community Managed Library Network enabling peer comparisons and sharing of best practise has recently been set up to help address some of these problems, details are available on this link: Community Libraries Network