Update on the Network’s Strategic Review and Business Planning

Following on from our recent communication about plans to become self sustaining, the Network  with support from Independent Mind and 3rd Sector Mission Control is developing a business plan and a strong strategy for the future.

We have been talking to stakeholders and shadow board members and have had a great response to the survey so far. 56 people have completed it, but there is still time to have your say. We have extended the survey until 18th July. If you’d like to tell us what you value about the network and what it should focus on in future please follow this link:


Findings so far

So far we have heard:

  • Managing a community library can be lonely and isolating. Knowing that there is someone else out there who has had the same experience as you can be comforting, supporting and give you the strength to keep going when things get tough.
  • It is hard to make a CML sustainable, and keep it sustainable. Providing support and advice to support sustainability could ensure more CMLs are able to continue serving their communities and ensure the long-term future of library services in places that would not otherwise have a local service
  • CMLs are very diverse with lots of different models and needs. There is no one-size fits all answer to supporting CMLs, but there are some common issues. The Network needs to embrace the different sides of CMLs – both the library function and the community business aspect, in all the different ways they develop across the country.
  • CMLs would like more opportunities to network with each other and offer/receive peer support. A priority for the network should be developing an online peer to peer platform for different CMLs to talk to each other and offer support.

Does this match what you think? Contact communitylibs@unlt.org or complete our survey to let us know your thoughts.

Next steps:

We are having a strategy workshop on 18th July in Upper Norwood Library Hub, 39 – 41 Westow Hill, London SE19 1TJ so that CMLs have a say in setting the future direction of the network. You can book a place at the workshop here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cmls-and-their-supporters-working-together-to-create-a-5-year-business-plan-tickets-63657846332.  We hope to see you at the workshop.

Following on from this we will be researching possible business models and putting together a business plan in August and September 2019.

The Peer Network wants your input into our 5 Year Business plan – Join us in London on 18th July

As part of the National Community Managed Libraries Peer Network’s drive to achieve a sustainable Network,  we have organised a workshop on 18th July 2019 from 11.30am – 3.30pm to involve CMLs, our supporters and partners in co-creating our 5 year Business Plan.

Discussions will be facilitated by Katie Pekacar and Richard Sved from Independent Mind, who are helping us to design a viable business plan.

We would delighted if you would join us on the 18th of July, as your insights and contributions would help us create a dynamic and responsive business plan, assuring our future sustainability.

The workshop will be held at the Upper Norwood Library Hub, 39 – 41 Westow Hill, London SE19 1JT.  You can book a place using the link below: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cmls-and-their-supporters-working-together-to-create-a-5-year-business-plan-tickets-63657846332

Thank you and we look forward to seeing as many of you at the workshop on 18th of July.  Lunch will be provided.

Thank You.

Community Managed Libraries Peer Network Members Survey

Please Support Us

The Community Managed Libraries Peer Network has commissioned Independent Mind to help it develop a strategy and business plan for the next 2-5 years. Independent Mind will be working with the network between June – September 2019 to consult with stakeholders, survey members and review potential business models.

What does this mean for members of the network?

Well, it means that the Network is seeking to secure its future so that it can continue to provide support to community managed libraries. It also means that the Network wants to hear from people who have engaged with it – whether you have submitted a question to the network, attended a webinar, workshop or conference or are just reading our blog and Twitter feed.

The Community Managed Libraries Peer Network wants to be a network that truly represents the views and needs of its members. To do that they need to hear from you about:

  • What have your experiences of the network been so far?
  • What do you really value from the network?
  • What are your thoughts on our future direction and focus?

Please take 10 minutes to complete the survey online before 1st July 2019: https://kwiksurveys.com/s/mCOWl1fi

FREE Online Courses

Find below, link to FREE online courses eg GDPR – Data Protection and Security which can be accessed by anybody over the age of 19.  These FREE online courses take between six and eight weeks to complete to achieve a nationally recognised qualification at level 2.

Course Benefits

These courses will allow you to:

  • Achieve a nationally recognised qualification
  • Access high-quality learning materials and support from an experienced Tutor/Assessor
  • Progress your skills to the next level
  • Improve your knowledge to a high standard

For more information about the courses, check out http://www.learningcurvegroup.co.uk/courses

For further information or to book a slot, contact LWhitfield@hexagon.org.uk.


First of two finance webinar sessions designed for CMLs.

Session 1 – 26 June 2019

  • Explores basic principles underpinning good financial management.

We will encourage colleagues who attend the first session to commit to participating in the second session as this is a follow up to the first session, building on learning from session 1.

Session 2 – September (date to be agreed with attendees to the first session)

  • We will ask attendees to our first session to outline some of the key areas of issues they would like us to cover in our next session.

The webinar will be led by Neal Trupp, Chartered Accountant (FCA), a SFEDI-accredited Business Adviser, and holds an ICAEW Practising Certificate.

Register Here

Twine WEBINAR – a Free Digital Tool for community businesses from Power to Change

This webinar delivered by Edward Walden walks you through Twine, a bundle of digital tools being offered FREE by Power to Change to community businesses.

Twine allows you to

  • log volunteer hours and visitor footfall quickly and digitally and then use this digital data to create efficient reports.
  • It is designed overall to make reporting on volunteer and visitor stats faster and easier. It has been designed with simplicity in mind and overall is very easy to use.

Twine could save you a lot of time and effort from logging volunteer hours on paper.

Twine is FREE and to find out more about this excellent tool tailored for organisations like yours, join us on either

See below for a short video about Twine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CunZEoTF0PY

Register Here

The Future of Civic Culture in the UK — Event registration – 2nd July 2019, Newcastle University

On 2nd July 2019, Newcastle University is hosting a one-day event on the theme of The Future of Civic Culture in the UK. Contributors to the day include academics working across the libraries/museums/parks sector, as well as representatives from Libraries Connected, Parks Alliance and the English Civic Museums Network (plus many more!).

Join colleagues for a day of discussion about the way that the ‘civic purpose’ of contemporary public cultural organisations have changed since austerity. Organisations from across the museums/libraries/parks/heritage sector will discuss the way that austerity has re-shaped their civic purpose and questions will be asked about the impact that this has on wider issues of equality, diversity, inclusion and social justice. What, we ask, is the future of civic culture in the UK?

The team are currently looking into trying to create some bursaries to pay for delegate travel particularly for those whose organisations do not have the budget for this kind of event. We are waiting to hear back from our finance team about whether or not this is possible. If there are people who are interested in attending but who do not have the budget, please contact katie.Markham@newcastle.ac.uk.

Link to the Evenbrite page, where you can register for this event is below. Registration is free, but places are limited so be sure to register for yours early!


The Future of Civic Culture in the UK?

Tuesday July 2nd 2019


Venue: Kings Hall, Newcastle University


TWINE – FREE bundle of digital tools offered by Power to Change to Community Managed Libraries


Twine is a bundle of digital tools being offered by Power to Change. Twine allows you to log volunteer hours and visitor footfall quickly and digitally and then use this digital data to create efficient reports. It is designed overall to make reporting on volunteer and visitor stats faster and easier. It’s been designed with simplicity in mind and overall is very easy to use.

Power to Change, the independent charitable trust that supports and develops community businesses in England, is building a community of Twine users around the country. When people ask “Why should I use Twine?” the answer usually is that if you are currently logging volunteer hours on paper, or have a similar paper system for logging visitors/service users, Twine could save you the time and effort.

Volunteer Co-ordinators and Service Managers have a lot on their plate, Twine saves them the time spent typing up paper forms into excel.  Twine is completely FREE courtesy of Power to Change. You can call or email their team 5 days a week for support. Training is conducted by web video chat and is free of charge, and can be repeated in the event of staff changes. The only cost associated with Twine is if you would like training to be conducted at your premises but due to the simplicity of the platform, this is uncommon.

FREE Twine Webinar Sessions

31 May 2019. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/twine-webinar-a-free-digital-tool-for-community-businesses-from-power-to-change-tickets-61688614306

Another session is planned for 13th of June 2019.

The Twine webinar sessions will be delivered by Power to Change’s Digital Transformation Officer, Edward Walden, who is also the Training Co-Ordinator for Twine. This session will cover everything you need to know to decide if Twine is a good fit for you or not. You’ll see it in action and have plenty of time for questions and answers. If you like what you see, you will have all the knowledge to start using it by the end of the session and Edward can create an account for you immediately afterward.


Find out more about Twine by watching this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CunZEoTF0PY

Thank you.



Learning Events – webinars and workshops

Today’s piece shares some of the learning and resources from the recent community engagement, volunteering and networking session in Sheffield plus links to free webinars and a face to face session in Northamptonshire.

Learning from the Community engagement, volunteering and networking session in Sheffield

On 30th April, two colleagues from the CML Peer Network (Peter Ranken from Archibald Corbett and Margaret Adjaye, Upper Norwood Library Hub) set off from London to Sheffield to meet Darrell Porter, Sheffield Libraries, Sean Kelly, Libraries Taskforce and other CML colleagues for the community engagement, volunteering and networking session.

Peter led a session covering the

  • types of community managed libraries
  • remarkable range of skills and contributions made by volunteers
  • volunteer types, from trustees to librarians, activity volunteers, management etc
  • how to engage (from our communities), recruit, manage, develop and retain volunteers

You can find slides from Peter’s session here – sheffield volunteers workshop 30 April 2019.

Peter also shared a copy of his library’s Volunteer Handbook and Sean took colleagues through some of the resources and toolkits on the Libraries Taskforce site.

Margaret then led a brief discussion on how to embed diversity and inclusion into volunteering and community engagement practices.

We then spent some time discussing and sharing our experiences on cyber security, books supply, safeguarding and DBS, code of conduct for volunteers and much more. 

We agreed to host at least 4 – 5 networking events each year in various places and not just in London and Sheffield marked the beginning of a very informative and extremely useful learning and networking event.

If you would like to connect with us, or if you have any queries or want to know more about the Network and how we can support you, please contact us at communitylibs@unlt.org