CMLNPN is Recruiting

Community Managed Libraries National Peer Network is recruiting a Regional Network Co-ordinator

The purpose is to build up and support regional networks of Community Managed Libraries (CMLs) within the South West, West Midlands, Midlands, Wales, North Midlands.
Working with the Network Manager and Trustees, Regional Network Co-ordinators will build relationships and regular communication with CMLs in the regions; capturing the needs and insights from CMLs to inform policy development and to help develop and grow the work of the Network.

The area covered will be:
• South West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales

Below you will find the job description and person specification for a Network Co-ordinator.

The Regional Network Co-ordinators will work from home, though from time to time you may work from a CML building or travel for activities or visits to other CMLs.

This role is funded thanks to the

Application Instructions

Please submit a CV and covering letter (using the Job Description & Personal Specification) to

Deadline: Friday 31st March 2023


As part of the wider Government strategy to improve safeguarding practice across the voluntary sector in England, DCMS in partnership with Big Lottery Fund are investing a total of £1.14 million to improve access to training, support and advice.

The Safeguarding Training Fund will provide funding in two phases until 2022. For the first phase DCMS is seeking an organisation or partnership of organisations with the track record and knowledge to develop high quality resources which will be freely available to the voluntary sector to improve safeguarding practice.

This will then be followed by a second phase which will fund a small number or organisations or partnerships to share the resources developed during Phase 1 and support grassroots charities and community organisations to improve their safeguarding practice.

For details of how to apply visit:

Phase 1 applications are open now.  Applications invited for up to £570,000 and the submission deadline is Monday 14 January at 12.00pm.

Taken from (Office for Civil Society) OCS For Info (London and South) – December 2018

March Newsletter & Network Meeting

Community Libraries Network Newsletter

Our March newsletter is live, you can find it here to read updates and information about the Community Libraries sector: March Newsletter

Sign up to receive future editions of our monthly newsletter here:

Network Meeting – March 2023

The next Community Libraries Network Meeting will be held online on Thursday 23rd March @ 11:00am.

This is an opportunity for you to present topics, learning or issues of interest or concern for members to share, discuss or learn from.

In this meeting, we will be covering:

  • Introductions
  • Feature: Linking Lives
  • Network Updates
  • CML Feature: Lucy Winter (Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library)
  • Discussion Groups

If there are any other topics which you would like to be covered, please email

‘Organising a Teddy Bear Trail’ – Joan Aarvold

Joan Aarvold is the lead organiser of Jesmond Library’s annual Teddy Bear Trail, a fundraising idea which is much enjoyed by local children (and adults). Joan has put together a ‘How To’ guide for other Community Managed Libraries to use and develop.

“Since our first event seven years ago we have learned what works best and are happy to share our ideas. During the Pandemic we had to rethink how we managed both the event and the entry processes. It is amazing how willingness and ingenuity can overcome adversity! The TBT is now a much loved and enjoyed part of the Jesmond Community Festival, held each year in May/June. We begin our planning in early February for a May start. It is vital that the bears (or other animals/toys) are clearly and safely visible from the pavement. Some bears have been in trees (which is great fun for children to spot) but these need to be protected from the weather and possible thieves.
Our TBT takes place over two weeks, one of which is always a school holiday. We involve local businesses and households as well as schools, churches and our local Community Orchard. The TBT is a real community event! We have found that although most of the participants are children and families, quite a few ‘grown-ups’ enjoy doing the Trail. The following ideas may need customising for different areas but hopefully will provide a ‘template’ for your own TBT.”

You can read the Full Guide here alongside a sample Entry Form.

Updates from the Network

Library On

An initiative being developed to connect library services with people, co-designed with library services, which is funded by Arts Council England and powered by the British Library.
The ethos is to celebrate libraries and improve their perception, share what libraries have to offer and increase libraries’ digital and physical footfall.
Development is ongoing with beta testing launching from Spring. At this stage, CMLs can benefit from grants of between £10k-£70k, but expressions of interest MUST be made by local authority library services.
Please do get in touch with us if you would like to be involved and require support.
We will continue to communicate with the LibraryOn team following the beta testing phase to understand better how CMLs can get involved.

Libraries Strategy

The Network Manager recently  attended Baroness Sanderson’s deep dive roundtable, focussed on ‘Strengthening Communities’, in Coventry. This was a good opportunity to feed into to the wider libraries strategy review, representing the importance of Community Libraries in ongoing development plans, particularly around recognising volunteers and trustees, co-ordinating mutually beneficial partnerships and enabling CMLs to access additional funding sources, more easily.

London Regional Conference

We will shortly be announcing the date and venue for the first Regional Conference, being held in London in early summer this year.
We will be holding regional conferences in the North/N. Midlands area, and in the South-West, later in the year. However the London conference will be open to anyone who wishes to attend from CMLs across England & Wales. Please get in touch for more information, otherwise we hope to open up registration for the event in the next few weeks.
We have already confirmed a range of partners and services who will available for clinics, questions and information; we will also be running workshops to discuss and develop specific strategic thinking on the day. Lastly, it will be a great opportunity to meet other CML representatives, and as it will be held in a Community Library, a chance to visit and explore a CML as well.


The CML map has recently been updated with some additional contact and demographic information. We are continuing to add to the dataset so please do get in touch if you feel that anything is incorrect or requires clarifying.
We’re aiming to add more data on the types of services offered at each CML over the coming months. In the meantime, it is a really useful tool to help connect with other CMLs, both locally and from further afield.

Regional Networks

These are starting to develop and grow in particular areas of the country. We are linking CMLs across London and strengthening links between CMLs in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire & the North-West.
This has already encouraged a lot of exciting collaborative working, particularly around signposting and advice services and collective fundraising.
If you would like to get more involved with this collaboration, and with helping develop regional networks in your area please do get in touch to discuss further with Chris: or Paul:

Old Town Library, Swindon

Deborah Lamb – Library Manager at Old Town Library, Swindon – gives us a overview of their vibrant and inclusive Community Library.

The library has been running since 2017 and is a great example of a Community Library embracing and engaging with local users to cultivate a wonderful community space.
Their response during the months of forced closure in 2020 due to Covid, organising story walks and  themed activities outside, was indicative of the need in the community for education, social interaction, learning and sharing.

They have gone from strength to strength over the past 6 years and are now looking forward to opening a brand new community managed library in Summer 2023.

If you’d like to find out more, or connect with Old Town Library, you can contact Deborah here:

Find Out More

CML Presentation – Old Town Library

Old Town Library | Library in Swindon Old Town | South Swindon Parish Council (

Network Meeting – this Thursday!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for the next National Community Libraries Network Meeting: Thursday 23rd February at 11:00am.

We’ll be joined by Emily Jewell from Arts Council England & Deborah Lamb from Old Town Library and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and group discussion.

For further information, please email

Community Managed Libraries Map

The Community Libraries Network has created a map of community libraries across England & Wales.
You can use this map to find one of the 500+ CMLs that are local to you, or to look into those from further afield that may share similar features and services.

The information currently recorded for each CML includes:

  • Name
  • Location/Postcode
  • Website
  • Contact Telephone
  • Local Authority
  • Incorporation (if available)
  • CML ‘Model’
  • Deprivation Ranking
  • Network ‘Group’*

The map is continually being updated, so please get in touch if you have suggested additions or amendments.
If you are aware of any omitted CMLs that are currently active, please contact us at to discuss.

*Community libraries are separated into 3 regional groups, related to their geographical area:
Group One: London & South-East (Chris Neath – Network Manager)
Group Two: South West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales (Regional Network Co-ordinator TBC)
Group Three: North & North-Midlands (Paul Kelly – Regional Network Co-ordinator)

Playlist for Life

Surrinder Bains, Communities Officer from Playlist for Life, gave CMLs an introduction to their services and how community libraries can get involved to support people with dementia, their family or their carers.

Any organisation that can provide free advice, support or activity to people affected by dementia are invited to apply to be a ‘Help Point’.
Help Points can be a physical location where people can pick up leaflets and materials about making a personalised playlist, but many organisations have found new ways of connecting with their service users over the phone or digitally with technology such as Zoom. No matter how you reach your community, there are multiple ways for you to set up your Help Point and share the power of personal music.

Playlist for Life provide a range of FREE resources to help users to create their own personalised playlists and to understand the benefits.

Find Out More

Playlist for Life – Get Involved!

Network Meeting – February 2023

The next Community Libraries Network Meeting will be held online on Thursday 23rd February at 11:00am.

In this meeting, we will be covering:

  • Introductions
  • Feature: Emily Jewell (Arts Council)
  • Network Updates
  • CML Feature: Deborah Lamb (Old Town Library, Swindon)
  • Discussion Groups

If there are any other topics which you would like to be covered, please email

Greenhill Community Library – An Introduction

Chris Brown, vice-chairman and the overall events lead at Greenhill Community Library, joined us at our January 23 Network meeting to tell us more about the Sheffield based community library.

As an “associate” library of Sheffield City Libraries, Greenhill is funded through a combination of a grant from the council, occasional smaller grants and awards, and their own fundraising.
They offer a range of services and events, from talks, cinema showings and coding to farmers markets and ‘open gardens’.

Book circulation is managed through Koha library management system and 60% of their issues are made up from “Yellow Sticker” books which are donated or bought from their own funds.

Greenhill Community Library has an excellent track record of engaging with their community, including through a Friends of Scheme which raises funds for the organisation also giving voting rights to “Friends” at Annual General Meetings.

If you would like to connect with Greenhill Community Library to chat further or to arrange a visit, please contact Chris Neath:

Find Out More

Greenhill Community Library – Presentation

Network Meeting – January 2023

The next Community Libraries Network Meeting will be held online on Monday 23rd January at 11:00am.

In this meeting, we will be covering:

  • Introductions
  • Feature: Surinder Bains (Playlist for Life)
  • Network Updates
  • CML Feature: Chris Brown (Greenhill Community Library)
  • Discussion Groups

If there are any other topics which you would like to be covered, please email