Friends of Marsden Library
2 November 2015, Meeting Room, Marsden Mechanics Institute
Present: Diane Barkley, Caroline Bolton, Mave Buckley, Steve Goldman, Richard Hellawell, Natalie Stevenson, Jenny Wragge
Apologies: Rebecca Breen, Salma Dad, Rob Johnson, Kate Meade, David Ridgway
1. Members introduced themselves to the first meeting of the Friends of Marsden Library Steering Group.
Story So Far
2. Library Service: Natalie summarised the current position with relation to the Library Service, noting that Kirklees MBC’s approach was comparatively creative. The proposal was that there would be a number of fully-staffed town libraries, together with community-supported libraries. The latter would be staffed by one Kirklees Library Service staff member and would need to be supported by at least one volunteer at all times that the library was open. Noted that the Library Service was distinct from the building/space occupied by the Library, and that the Friends activity was concerned with the supporting and promoting the service. The Library Service would continue to be responsible for managing and staffing the service, and for managing and training volunteers. Community supported libraries needed a Friends Steering Group with which the Library Service could consult and liaise and which would support the Library Service through activities such as, e.g. recruitment of volunteers, promotion of events etc.
3. Building Situation (Diane): The Marsden Mechanics’ Institute was currently the subject of an asset transfer proposal. A Community Trust had been established to assess the feasibility of this proposal and to decide whether or not to apply for the asset transfer. Issues under consideration included the sizeable capital works required in the next 2 – 5 years, to the value of £100-200K (including boiler replacement estimated at £95K) and the £27K revenue needed to meet annual running costs. The decision would be made in the next few weeks, and it was important to realise that if the asset transfer went ahead the need to generate income would affect the library space. There was no budget for the library to pay rent. Diane noted that in a recent meeting the Library Service was aware of these constraints and already thinking creatively about flexible furniture. Making better use of the entrance hall could also be considered. The Community Trust was totally committed to the provision of a library within the Marsden Mechanics. It was part of the heritage, was a community asset and was an important generator of footfall.
4. The Library Service had initiated some community meetings over the summer with a view to establishing a Friends group and a small group of residents had arranged the public meeting that had been held on 5th October and which had led to the first Friends’ Steering group meeting.
Purpose of Friends Group
5. Agreed importance of having a clear and focused purpose, acknowledging that this could be reviewed regularly, e.g. at AGM. Identified that the primary purpose of the Friends Steering Group was to keep a library service in Marsden by supporting Kirklees’ Library Service’s proposals and 1) promoting and supporting the volunteer recruitment process and 2) acting as a channel for two-way communication between the Library Service and local stakeholders including residents, library users and the Community Trust (responsible for the asset transfer decision). Noted that the planned Kirklees Library Service consultation would be via the Friends Steering Group.
6. Agreed that our constitution would reflect this purpose, and we would begin to develop supporting actions.
7. Started to discuss what actions might look like:
- Recruiting volunteers: Agreed to discuss with Library Service best way of supporting this activity – e.g. can we receive the applications and then pass them on when there’s a suitable number for training? Caroline to investigate what information is currently available, e.g. on training, procedures, minimum commitment, turn around time. Jenny to double check that the names provided from the public meeting were sent the forms/links to apply. (Target: minimum number of volunteers to ensure Library can be open for advertised number of hours per week, e.g. 20). To discuss further when Salma present.
- Communication: Get web site in place as a reference point. Jenny to progress with Jen Withers who has volunteered to build one for us.
- Get a noticeboard in the Library for Friends material?
8. Agreed to produce a draft constitution, based on the model published by ‘The Library Campaign’, as a basis for discussion when Salma and Rebecca were able to be present. Action Diane.
9. Noted that there were a number of different models for how the Friends Steering Group could constitute itself – e.g. Company Limited by Guarantee etc. To discuss further when Salma / Rebecca present.
Social, 23 November, Old Bank Room, Riverhead, 8pm
10. Jenny to circulate the supporters to see if anyone could offer poster design skills. Mave to distribute resulting posters in the village. Poster both to promote the Social and provide contact points for anyone who was interested in supporting. Should emphasise the need for a healthy band of volunteers.
11. Caroline to pull together information for a leaflet to encourage more library volunteers so that we can push this aspect at the Social. Other ideas: display on flipchart paper for comment:
- Our ‘purpose’ statement
- The list of priorities from the public meeting – for comment and annotation with stickers to indicate favourites.
11. Monday 16 November, 6.45 pm, Marsden Mechanics Meeting Room (Action: Natalie to check if available), to focus on governance and on the social.