Hanwell Library is a library based in the London Borough of Ealing. It first opened to the public in 1905 meaning they have been serving the community of Hanwell and beyond for the past 118 years! In 2019, Ealing Borough Council passed on the day-to-day running of the Library to Ealing Law Centre- their parent organisation. The Law Centre worked with the local community to set up the library as you see it today.
On 23rd June 2021, the Library opened as a community led initiative, meaning that the day-to-day running and organisation of the Library is completely volunteer-led. They currently have a wonderful team of 75 rota and non-rota volunteers who run the library and lead events.
The effect of Covid-19 & the cost of living crisis
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed their initial opening. When they were eventually able to open, it was a very cautious start. Many people were still weary of socialising in large spaces and a few events took place online instead of in person. Luckily however, as the country has started to open again, people have become more confident with being back in public spaces and were able to welcome over 15,000 people back to the library in 2022. They remain conscious of the cost-of-living crisis and the pressures this places on members of their community.
All events that they run in the library are free, meaning that they are accessible to all members of the community no matter their financial position. They were also aware that people may have been using the library to keep warm over the winter. They put out activities such as board games and colouring for people to be able to use and also have free Wi-Fi. Additionally, their parent organisation Ealing Law Centre, which is linked to the library, provides advice and support on areas such as welfare benefits by appointment.
Plans for 2023 and beyond
One of their aims for 2023 is to increase their opening hours. They are currently open to the public for 27 hours per week, but would like to try and increase this to thirty hours. Another thing that they would like to achieve this year is a craft workshop for adults. Our craft workshops for children have been very popular and they have received a lot of feedback from adults asking if they could run something similar for older age groups.
Finally, they would like to run more evening events, having had photography, poetry and psychology workshops taking place up to now. They would love to be able to not only continue offering these activities but increase the range of evening events on offer across the board.
Hanwell Community Library in Numbers
15K Visitors in 2022
5K Visitors in 2023 (so far)
27 Hours open per week
47 Class visits
521 New members since Jan ’21
What is the standout feature of Hanwell Library?
It is hard to choose one!
One thing that customers love are all of the original features of the library. They are a Carnegie Library (roughly 21 out of the 325 public libraries in London are). They have beautiful high ceilings and lots of original features like the lovely front doors. Lots of customers have told them that they love coming to the library because it has such a wonderful atmosphere to spend time in. Another more practical feature that helps us stand out, is our link to Ealing Law Centre. Ealing does not have a Citizens Advice service so having the Law Centre next door is vital in helping customers get the support they need.
All events that we run in the library are free, meaning that they are accessible to all members of our community no matter their financial position.
What advice would you give to other Community Libraries?
“Don’t be afraid to take risks and try something new. Really listen to what your community wants. Last year we put out feedback surveys to the local community and our volunteers. The feedback provided a fundamental base for us to understand what we were doing well and what the community would like to see us doing. It really shaped the events that we then decided to arrange for the rest of the year.
Make sure that your library is not only a fun place for the public to come but also for your volunteers, if you are volunteer led. Ensure your volunteers are supported and feel part of your library community- with this in place, it has resulted in us having a wonderful and diverse group of people driving the library forward. We could not do it without them!”
From April 26, non-domestic customers that operate in energy and trade intensive industries (ETII) will be able to apply for additional support through the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme portal. A list of those sectors eligible for the additional support can be found on GOV.UK; Libraries & Archives are included in this list.
Getting ready to apply for support
Eligible organisations will have 90 days from the scheme introduction date of 26 April to apply for the higher support. New organisations, or newly eligible organisations will have 90 days to apply from the date at which they become eligible.
Applicants will need to provide information about their organisation or business including: • contact details • registered name and address • company registration number (if you have one) • up to 4 ETII eligible SIC codes • whether you pay bills directly to an energy supplier and details of any intermediaries involved (such as a landlord) • the names of gas and/or electricity suppliers • The gas or electricity meter point numbers (MPRN or MPAN) associated with the property, found on your bills from your energy suppliers. • the name of your organisation as it appears on your bill from your energy supplier(s) • a declaration letter signed by a named director or equivalent of your organisation or business (a template will be provided) • A template has also been provided to record your meter point numbers. This can also be used when applying [if you have more than 10 meter point numbers per supplier].
In addition to this, you may be asked to provide financial evidence to determine your eligibility. If we require more information, we will contact you. See more on GOV.UK
EBDS Customer Support Team If you have any questions about the application process, or how you might be eligible, you can contact the EBDS customer support team by phone or by email. Email: email@example.com Telephone: 0300 400 5251 Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5pm Saturday, 9am to 1pm
We will be joined by Isobel Hunter (Chief Executive of Libraries Connected) and Nicola & Roberta (Tech Champions for Social Media & Digital Accessibility at Digital Culture Network).
Lara Marshall from RNIB will also be providing some information and resources on accessibility in libraries.
Clinic Stalls: There will be opportunities throughout the day to speak to Nicola & Roberta to discuss your needs around digital, social media and accessibility. Members of the Community Libraries Network team will also be on hand to answer questions and discuss support and services, including events, training and guidance.
Workshops: All delegates will be able to participate in both workshop sessions during the morning.
There will also be extra information and features celebrating community managed libraries and the wider libraries sector.
We will be scheduling mini-conferences and events in other regions of England & Wales for those wishing to attend from outside of London & the South-East, however, this event is open to delegates from across the country.
You can find the agenda and FAQ on the event page, but for any other queries regarding this event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Culture Network
The Digital Culture Network provides practical, on the ground help to the creative and cultural organisations and individuals. Our focus is around digital skills and leadership development. We can help you:
Explore and harness the benefits of technology to achieve your goals
Find new ways to reach and engage audiences
Develop sustainable business models.
We can support you in different ways:
One-to-one support from a team of Tech Champions specialising in digital content, eCommerce, data analytics, social media, digital strategy, email marketing, ticketing and CRM, websites and search engine marketing.
Practical workshops and webinars to improve skills and engage with peers.
Signposting to resources and training from us and our partners
National and regional training days delivered with technology partners.
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.”
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.
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. VIEW THE MAP
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: email@example.com or Paul: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.