A New Community Managed Libraries Peer Network

Over the next 18 months, a new initiative, funded by Power to Change, will see the creation of the Community Managed Libraries Peer Network. The project aims to expand the existing Community Knowledge Hub to include a further 200 libraries with shared interests and goals.

Why do we need a new peer network?

Many local authorities work in partnership with communities in delivering their library services. This can be valuable in augmenting the services available and ensuring close collaboration and engagement between public libraries and the communities they serve. In some cases, volunteers work alongside paid local authority staff. In others, communities have taken on day-to-day responsibility for delivering library services in an area – usually with support from their local authority, but occasionally as a library independent from the council network.

It’s important that community managed libraries have access to the advice and support they need to run their library effectively. The Libraries Taskforce, for example, have produced a Community Libraries Toolkit giving guidance to those who are looking to establish community libraries and for heads of library services who are supporting them. But we are going further than this by creating a new Peer Network to make it easier for communities to share good practice and to learn from each other.

What does the network involve?

The Upper Norwood Library Trust, in partnership with Locality, the Libraries Taskforce and the Society of Chief Librarians, have established the Community Library Peer Network, a new initiative funded by Power to Change to be developed over the next 18 months. The project aims to expand the existing Locality-run Community Knowledge Hub by growing its membership to include a further 200 community libraries with shared interests and goals; developing cutting edge content and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

These are exciting yet challenging times for community libraries, and the peer network aims to be a vital resource for members, offering support and guidance including (but not limited to) the following:

  • extensive range of online tools and resources
  • series of expert webinars
  • local networking events
  • advice and learning from others in the network on fundraising and business development
  • platform for shared learning
  • signposting to other external resources
  • Q&A forum for practical advice and support
  • sector news and debates – how can you make a difference?



For more about this project read this blog post: Community managed libraries – the next phase


Header photo: Noticeboard in Minchinhampton community library. Photo credit: Libraries Taskforce