Coronavirus: New business grant schemes explained

I hope you are all well and safe.

Following the introduction of more restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 in October and November, the UK Government announced four new grant schemes for businesses in England. Guidance on eligibility and grant rates for these schemes was published on 3 November 2020.

Like the business support grants made available in England between March and August 2020, these grant schemes are funded by Government and operated by local authorities. Eligibility for the first three grants is based on the business rates system and the ‘tier’ system of local restrictions. Eligibility for the Additional Restrictions Grant is at the discretion of local authorities.

The schemes

The new grant schemes are

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open)
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector)
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed), which also features an ‘addendum’ following the reimposition of England-wide restrictions as of 5 November 2000
  • Additional Restrictions Grant

Further explanation about the new schemes can be found here:

Thank you.

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National Restrictions Guidance: How they apply to Libraries

National restrictions begin in England today – 5 November 2020. To find out about the restrictions and what you can or cannot do visit:

Under the restrictions, library services must close their buildings for general public access but are allowed to operate these services:

  • Home Library Service (doorstep delivery, no-contact service)
  • School Library Service (doorstep delivery, no-contact service)
  • Order & Collect services (may take place inside the library, as close to the entrance as possible)
  • Access to PCs for essential purposes
  • Digital and remote services including eLending, online events and activities and keep in touch calls
  • Digital access to public services, including the UKVI visa application service.

These services must be managed in COVID secure ways and subject to full risk assessment as set out in the updated Services Recovery Toolkit from Libraries Connected, available HERE. The Service Recovery Toolkit has been prepared in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Updated 05.11.20.

Visit Libraries Connected Website for other very useful information and resources.

Thank you.

Harbury Village Library Lockdown Art Exhibition

I hope you are all well and safe.

Following on from our recent publication ‘Community Managed Libraries as Community Hubs’, Harbury Village Library participated in a project during the summer to produce a book documenting the experiences of Harbury residents during the first lockdown.

Harbury Village Library was so inspired they run a parallel project documenting the lockdown experiences of local residents in poetry and prose. They invited local artists to create a piece of work reflecting their own experiences of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Any age, any medium, any level of accomplishment. The only requirement was that the artist had to be a resident of the village. 

Submissions were accepted until the end of October and the works hung on the wall of the library. In order to make sure they could still be seen even when the library was in lockdown a selection of the works is displayed in their online gallery. A few of the works are available for sale and, if they sell, the library gets a percentage!

To find out more about each of the artists and their submissions visit:

To learn more about what they did you can contact Richard Fowler @ Harbury Village Library:

Stay safe.

Top 5 spine-tingling tales from the UK

Hope you are all safe and well.

GREAT would like support for their Halloween blog on spooky books.

The Twitter account to watch is  @GREATBritain.

Interesting blog can be found here:  

It explores the writers, characters, and locations linked to some of the UK’s most chilling literary works – and might be a way for library services to use as a springboard to link into any more local Halloween literary promotions you are undertaking. 

Thanks and a good weekend to all.

New report shows Community Managed Libraries evolving into Community Hubs

Local libraries to play important role in post Covid recovery says MP

A report launched today by the Community Managed Libraries National Peer Network shows how Community Managed Libraries are already stepping up to a challenge set out in a recent government paper.

As the report makes clear, Community Managed Libraries exist in a wide range of communities – urban and rural, affluent and deprived – and operate using many different business models. One thing they share, however, is a close understanding of the community in which they are located. 

The report is generously supported by independent trust Power to Change.

Drawing on the experiences of Community Managed Libraries in Lewisham, Earlsdon, Fallowfield, Greenhill, Harbury, Jesmond, and Upper Norwood, the report identifies a range of traditional and innovative services being offered, including:

Reading and Writing groups; Rhyme Time sessions, Homework and Breakfast Clubs, activities for children with disabilities; ESOL; Art Exhibitions, Music Concerts, Theatre Performances; Health and Wellbeing, dementia groups, mindfulness sessions; Lifelong learning, local history, U3A groups; Police and Local Council drop-in surgeries; Digital literacy; Careers, welfare and employability sessions; benefits advice, housing and blue badge applications; a Hedgehog Food Bank; charging points for a community electric car club; 2nd hand book store and sales of works by local authors and artists.

In his report to the Prime Minister “Levelling up our communities” MP Danny Kruger says, 

“The local Library is or should be a crucial element of the social model we need to create, or re-create ….. Increasingly they serve as digital hubs and information centres for communities, and places for classes and sessions of all kinds.”

“where local authorities struggle to maintain local libraries, communities are stepping up to take over and run them. 20% of libraries are now community-managed”

“Government should make a major commitment to support the local library as the hub of the 21st century community.” 

David Smith, Chair of the CMPNLN said,

“CMLs have more and more been operating as Community Hubs and during the COVID-19 crisis have been important in helping maintain the health and well-being of their area. 

Groups of volunteers running these libraries recognise the challenges and are eager to play a role in the recovery and regeneration of their communities. Providing access to digital resources for young people seeking the skills to move into employment, encouraging and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs, working with medical and public health professionals to ensure that the community has access to the information it needs, and promoting the efforts of their local creative community. 

Support from government for the creation of all libraries as hubs of the 21st century community is critical, but must recognise that the people running these organisations have a deep understanding of the needs of their community and which approaches are most likely to work for them. The work of the last ten years has created a blueprint for the Community Hub of the future, but there will be no one size fits all solution.”

Note for Editors

  1. The Community Managed Libraries National Peer Network is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with its base at the Upper Norwood . It is run by volunteers for the volunteers in CMLs.
  2. Its website is             
  3. For further information contact David Smith (07710975682) Peter Rankin (07580834683)  Richard Fowler (07703 384 898), email or for particular local information contact the Case Study Libraries listed in the annexe.
  4. About Power to Change
    Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £890m and comprises 9,000 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2019).

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.  @peoplesbiz

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. 

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

Libraries as the Hub of the 21st Century Community

Greetings to all, and hope you are well. A few interesting updates to share:

Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant, a report by Danny Kruger MBE

In July the Prime Minister asked Danny Kruger MBE for proposals to sustain the community spirit we all saw during the lockdown. The report was published yesterday, 24 September 2020, with a generous response by the Prime Minister, including a commitment to engage the voluntary sector – which now includes many new volunteers and organisations that didn’t exist before Covid-19 – in a conversation about how to take forward this agenda.

Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant sets out a vision for a more local, more human, less bureaucratic, less centralised society in which people are supported and empowered to play an active role in their neighbourhoods. 

The report is warm about libraries and you may be interested in some of the comments about libraries and the reference to community-managed libraries:

“The fact that the library is an historic institution, a repository of the memories of a local place and traditionally a window on knowledge and a doorway to opportunity for people from ordinary backgrounds, fits it even more for its role at the heart of communities in the 21st century.  Many council-run library services are increasingly engaging with communities in designing their services. And where local authorities struggle to maintain local libraries, communities are stepping up to take over and run them. 20% of libraries are now community-managed, and more could be. Government should make a major commitment to support the local library as the hub of the 21st century community”

One of his summary recommendations include

“A new focus on the modern local library, often community-managed, delivering business start-up support and digital inclusion for local communities”

The report can be downloaded here:

Online Learning opportunities

We still have spaces on the three online sessions we published recent. Follow the links below to book your place:-

4 November 2020: Fundraising and Income Generation

11 November 2020: Marketing and Communication

18 November 2020: Making an Impact

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

Promoting some Shared Learning Events

All, I hope you are all well and safe.

We have three online learning events to share with colleagues. We have 12 places available on each session, kindly use the links provided to book a place. Please note that we will be organising further learning sessions in the coming months, including small networking opportunities with peers.

The courses below have been made possible by the Archibald Corbett Community library as part of their local Public Space Management course.

Fundraising and income Generation:

In this current climate we have to re-think how we run, develop and sustain our libraries. Consideration for new or different income sources is a must. You will hear from the Arts council, from your peers and you will learn about fundraising and income generation strategies they use: Please follow this link for more information including details of how to book:

Marketing and Communication:

Led by Sam Brown, who has a long history of working with start-ups and local organisations helping them establish their purpose, corresponding programmes and communication strategies. You will take away strategies for marketing and communication and will have the opportunity to learn from and share your experiences with peers. Please follow the link below to book your place:

Making an Impact:

:Social impact is the positive change that your organisation has created over a period of time. These changes may be social, financial , environmental or other. Community groups and CMLs need to put positive social impact at the heart of everything and be able to identify, capture and communicate the impact of their activities. To book a place please follow this link:

Thank you.

We are Back

I hope everyone is safe and well, also hope you had a good summer break.

We have a few updates for colleagues and hope you find them interesting and useful.

Re-opening Case Study from Charmouth Community Library

Charmouth Community Library in Dorset opened on 20 July 2020. The attached case study share their experiences and some of the lessons learnt since they reopened.

We also have a short reopening update from Greenhill Community Library in Sheffield, see below:

Greenhill Community Library recently organised a Scarecrow Festival which ran through the first half of August. People were asked to make a character from a book and most of the 33 entries complied. Voting (via an on-line form) drew 250 responses with those characters with appeal to young children, notably “Where’s Wally” and “Peppa Pig” being favourites. Organiser Chris Brown commented “It was great to see so many young families out and about, clutching their scarecrow locator maps, and being excited by each new discovery. There seems to be quite an appetite for something different, outdoor, and socially distanced to do after the confines of lockdown and on-screen entertainment.” The library has also organised a “story walk” (with a child’s book distributed page-by-page on storyboards throughout the village) and a couple of storytelling sessions on the library’s large front lawn. You can find lots of pictures on their web site at

The National Rural Touring Forum October 2020 Conference

Please see the below for some info on a conference from the National Rural Touring Forum. This e-conference is dedicated to libraries and rural touring (13th October) and may be of interest to CMLs in rural locations. Visit the NRTF WEBSITE for further information.

Shared Learning and Networking Events

We will be publicising a full list of networking and learning events for the remainder of the calender year after 25th of September 2020.

In the meantime, please note 3 learning events coming up soon, these are part of Archibald Corbett Community Library’s Public Space Management course now open to CMLs. The dates will be available on Eventbrite on Friday 18th.

4th November              Fundraising and Income Generation (supported by Sean from the Arts Council)

11 November              Marketing and Communication          Sam Brown

18 November             Making an Impact                               Sam Brown

Take care all.

A Couple of Quick Updates

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) Survey

DCMS invites you to take part in a second round of a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors.

This survey 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.

We encourage organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors to respond. The survey should take around 10-20 minutes. The deadline for responses to the survey will be at 23:59 GMT on 08/09/2020. Please follow the link below to begin submitting your response:
DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey – Round 2 

Teachers’ Reading Challenge Website Launches

An initiative created by The Reading Agency in partnership with The Open

This initiative is the first teachers’ reading challenge of its kind, utilising research and resources from the OU’s Reading for Pleasure programme and The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Teachers can sign up to take part:

Thank you.

What Re-opening looks like in some CMLs and a call for Volunteers

I hope everyone is safe and well. Today we share re-opening plans in some CMLs, we also have a call for Volunteers and finally an update on the virtual Learning and Support Sessions.

Re-opening – a picture of services in some CMLs

Some CMLs are starting re-open and we want to share with you a picture of the services that are being provided by a few. Email us at to share your re-opening plans/learning since you re-opened your doors.


Burley in Wharfedale Community Managed Library reopened on Tuesday 21 July and will be open for order and collect/returns/home delivery service only. There will be no access to the main building of the library for browsing or computer use. There will be a single pick-up/returns point in the foyer. Opening hours now reduced from what they had prior to Covid-19, they are:- Tuesdays 2 pm to 5 pm; Fridays 2 pm to 5 pm; Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm. Check out their Facebook for more information: Burley in Wharfedale CML Facebook

Harbury Village Library

Harbury Village Community Library managed to reopen its library w/c 13th July with a very diminished offer. Warwickshire County Libraries have only opened 4 of the main libraries so far, and only for a click and collect service. At Harbury we have moved large quantities of books so that we now have a single aisle containing our own collection books (purchased or donated) to which we are allowing access one person (or family group) at a time. The fact we work in the original Victorian village school has made reconfiguration quite a challenge.

We continue to operate our Home Delivery, Click and Collect and book takeaway services and hope to provide Ready Read packs to support the Summer Reading Challenge. As Hank Williams used to say, “If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”, we’ll be able to provide access to one of our Public Access Computers this week. The library cafe is now offering takeaway coffee and cakes from the kitchen door twice a week!

Garden Suburb Community Library – Hampstead London continues to run its really successful click and collect service. As the building is really too small to be able to manage social distancing easily., they are looking to re-open in October at the earliest.

Courteous and respectful

Friends of Jesmond Library – Newcastle will re-open in two stages on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for two hours each day, 2-4pm at first. From August 4, only the current click and collect service and the People’s Network computers will be available with computer use limited to 50 minute sessions. From August 18 book loans and returns will also be available as well as click and collect which will continue for users who prefer it. We will be asking users to wear face coverings in the library and numbers entering will be restricted.

The Archibald Corbett Community Library – Catford London:

Phase 1 – Monday 6th July: Digital offer continues. Click and collect service, Lucky dip pre-selected bundles, Crate at the door to collect returned books. Set up table within foyer area so people only just step inside the building, 1 person at a time to complete their transaction. Door marshal to control access. 2-3 volunteers per shift – plus at least 1 manager to collate books prior to collection. Input discharges on system. Customers to queue outside with 2m markings. Use hand sanitiser on arrival at door Customer to read aloud card number. No exchange of books, cards, anything

Phase 2 – Monday 3rd August: Continue to offer click & collect and Lucky Dip. Add PC Use, Min. 30 mins to 2 hour max. slots, Quick browsing of limited selection – in Dome area only. See below for the opening times:

  • Monday          11:00 to 12:00                      over 70s, people with disabilities
  • Monday          14:00 to 16:00                      all
  • Tues or Thur 11:00 to 12:00                      over 70’s, people with disabilities
  • Thurs              14:00-16:00                          all

A call for volunteers

A number of members have expressed concern that their re-opening plans for a full service may be affected because many of their volunteers are over 70, having to self-isolate or are shielding and may not come back. The Network has linked up with VCS Emergency Partnership to discuss the possibility of VCS providing volunteers to Community Managed Libraries around the country to help them move from a restricted service to providing a full service with regular opening hours.

VSE has asked us to provide a snapshot of numbers, areas and timescale for where there could be a need for them to assess what they might be able to provide.

If your library looks like it will need to recruit new volunteers please email us at latest by Monday 10 August with the name and address of your library, the number of volunteers you might need, how many hours a week they will be needed and when you would want them to start by month.


A massive thanks to members who joined the Learning and Support Sessions between April and July making it really successful. From some of the feedback shared by colleagues most people valued the peer advice and support during these difficult times; for a few it was a lifeline, others felt informed and took away some ideas/information from Libraries Connected, DCMS and Arts Council to inform recovery plans and activities.

I am particularly grateful for your ideas and suggestions for how to improve future sessions.  We are now taking a summer break, resuming in September, new dates to be announced soon.

Have an enjoyable Summer Break and Stay Safe.