New Dates for the Virtual Support Sessions and General Updates

Hello everyone. As always, I hope you are keeping well and safe. Many thanks to all who contributed to the DCMS and Arts Council surveys. We hope to share updates from the surveys when they become available.

Today’s edition covers

  • Future dates for the Virtual Learning and Support Sessions
  • Free Webinar from the Arts Council’s Digital Culture Network
  • General Updates and links to useful resources

Virtual Learning and Support Sessions – A focus on Recovery

https___cdn.evbuc.com_images_62052618_207977903246_1_originalThese sessions have been very well received and fast becoming a useful vehicle for CMLs to receive and share updates/ideas, ask questions, discuss their concerns and challenges and support each other.

With libraries set to be open in the third phase of the government’s “COVID-19 recovery strategy”, and July 4 earmarked as the earliest date for this to happen, the virtual learning sessions will now focus on RECOVERY.   To book a place at these sessions simply click the date you wish to attend and follow the instructions. We will send you a ZOOM link to join the session when you register.


In advance of these sessions you may wish to read this interesting blog from Libraries Connected:  Safety first: The recovery of Library Services.  You may also want to look at BEIS guidance on safe operation of various workplaces – on GOV.UK here

Also, to note that Libraries Connected are developing general libraries guidance for restoring services that will have input from Public Health England.  The Peer Network will be sitting on the ministerial group that will work through and agree it and will update you in due course.

The Arts Council’s Digital Culture Network

The Arts Council’s Digital Culture Network is offering a free webinar session on 3rd June looking at online safety.  The session has been designed to help arts and cultural organisations intending to work with young people online create robust safeguarding policies and procedures as well as raise awareness of good practice in online safety.  For more information please see the following link:

General Updates and Useful Links

At the last virtual learning and suppGarden Suburb_001ort session, colleagues raised questions on recovery plans, volunteering, books, computers and board games and safety.  Below we have shared some helpful feedback on these topics from Sue @ Libraries Connected who is also a CML Peer Network trustee.


Recovery  may take the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Concentration on opening libraries for basic services with a focus on Continuation and development of digital events and activities
  • Phase 2: Very limited group activities in libraries with strict social distancing and maintaining a vibrant online programme
  • – this was published by the government a couple of days ago and gives an opening date for libraries of 4th July as part of a step 3 process – but very much baby steps.

In terms of questions raised around books, computers and board games:

  • Re books – they need to be quarantined for 3 days. There is a real debate about how we do that – PPE etc etc – but I think given the conversations running about gloves and the risk of contamination each CML may need to decide what to do – but bottom line is you need to keep washing your hand.
  • Computers – the protocols are still being worked on, but you may wish to start out by blocking out every other computer to maintain social distancing and mice/keyboard/chair/desk/terminal will have to be cleaned after each session, and  decide on how long each session should be to cut down dwell time. Plus to start with you may wish to do click and collect and even when people start coming into the building – seats will be taped off, soft toys etc put away, etc to keep social distancing and stopping people spending too much time in the building. So at the moment I am buying Perspex screens, floor space markers, thinking about space marshals inside/outside library like supermarkets (Perspex screens – you can buy ones that are not fixed plus signage– Terry Knight at Atlas UK Ltd ( on LinkedIn is doing that)
  • Board Games etc – the issue is about how do you manage social distancing with games etc and how do you avoid contamination – you could lend them out and then treat them like books? We are doing crafts etc on YouTube (my staff are filming themselves on their camera phones and it looks ok) – and keeping/building my audience so when it is safe for them to come back and do that in the library we have not lost them. So I am still thinking about Phase 2 activities and how to do that safely.

We will discuss Volunteering at our Virtual Sessions, and insights from colleagues will be shared here.

Please continue to visit announcements and updates. Visit our website for information/resources: CML National Peer Network website and continue to visit the Arts Council website for a wide range of updates and resources.

Thank you all and stay safe.


Quick Updates – New Business Rates Discretionary Fund and some case studies from CMLs during the Lockdown

Morning colleagues. I trust you are all well. A few quick updates, and hope you find them useful.

New Business Rates Discretionary Fund

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.  To find out more please select link to the announcement made over the weekend. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities and the fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief are to be prioritised.

Whats happening in some CMLs during the Lockdown? Book Ordering/Collection, Home Deliveries and Online activities

Five (5) case studies from Garden Suburb Community Library, Corbett Library, Harbury Village Library,  Upper Norwood Library Hub and Jesmond Library

  • Garden Suburb Community Library in London are now offering a book ordering / collection scheme to their readers. Click HERE to learn about the scheme.
  • Harbury Village Library also started a Home Delivery Service. People select books from the online catalogue of their own collection of books (c. 4000 items). Volunteers then prepare and deliver the books. Extensive precautions are taken (see website for details). They are only serving a small, compact, rural village with virtually no homes of multiple occupancy.  There is also the Takeaway Shelf:  Harbury receive many donations of books, some they have already and some they don’t want to add to their collection. In normal times these books are put out on Takeaway Shelves in the library foyer. Since last Monday a selection of these books has been put on a wheeled shelf which is placed outside the library from 10 am to 12 noon. Volunteers ensure social distancing recommendations are followed. For more information: Website: Blue Label Books – Harbury Village Library  Facebook: Harbury Village Library & Biblio’s Cafe

Thank you.



Capturing the Voice of CMLs

Dear Colleagues

I hope you are all well and safe. Here are a few updates, please share with colleagues and in your networks.

Arts Council England:  Arts Council England in partnership with DCMS and the Network have just launched a new survey to establish the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community managed libraries. This survey builds upon the previous survey and consultations conducted by the Network. The survey link should now be with a contact in your library. If have not received a link and you would like to complete the survey, please contact who will issue you with a survey link.

Department for Communities Media and Sports (DCMS):   DCMS is conducting a survey to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. It has been commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to better understand the needs of its stakeholders. Your answer will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts. Please follow the link below to begin submitting your response: DCMS Business Impacts of Coronavirus Survey  To be completed by by 23:59 GMT on 15/05/2020.

Useful Information, Resources and Toolkits

DfE: DfE recently launched a platform: Skills Toolkit– a platform aimed at furloughed workers (and others that want to take the opportunity) to upskill, with an initial focus on digital and numeracy skills.  Here’s a link to the GOV.UK news story.  The toolkit is not sector specific and can be promoted widely. The two key audiences to reach are those individuals that may have scope to take up this offer, and also employers to encourage their staff to do so.

Libraries Connected:

#LibrariesFromHome is  one of the resources that can be used by parents or carers homeschooling primary age children, and is on the Hungry Little Minds campaign website, which provides fun activities for children to help stimulate speech and language development.

CILIP have also launched the National Shelf Service, to share the expertise of librarians through daily book recommendations.

Law Works: Covid-19 related guidance, information and advice for charities and not-for-profits. Including: corporate/governance, employment, property and tax issues:

Covid-19 Virtual Support and Learning Sessions

These sessions are well attended by CMLs and feedback has been very positive.  Attendees share their experiences around the impact of Covid-19 on their CMLs/communities, they also get the opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers, ask questions, seek support and learn from others. The sessions are held on Zoom.

To register please select one of the links below, and follow the instructions. We will send you a Zoom Link to join the session on the day.

Next week, we will share future learning and networking sessions here and on our website:

Thank you.