London Mini-Conference – June 2023

Community Libraries Network welcomes you to the first regional mini-conference of 2023, taking place in Ealing, London.

The mini-conference format is designed to encourage intimate discussion and networking, reduce the need for extended travel and showcase a small yet well-formed Community Library.


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


More Information

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.


Updates from the Network

Library On

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.

Libraries Strategy

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.

Regional Networks

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: or Paul:

Community Managed Libraries Map

The Community Libraries Network has created a map of community libraries across England & Wales.
You can use this map to find one of the 500+ CMLs that are local to you, or to look into those from further afield that may share similar features and services.

The information currently recorded for each CML includes:

  • Name
  • Location/Postcode
  • Website
  • Contact Telephone
  • Local Authority
  • Incorporation (if available)
  • CML ‘Model’
  • Deprivation Ranking
  • Network ‘Group’*

The map is continually being updated, so please get in touch if you have suggested additions or amendments.
If you are aware of any omitted CMLs that are currently active, please contact us at to discuss.

*Community libraries are separated into 3 regional groups, related to their geographical area:
Group One: London & South-East (Chris Neath – Network Manager)
Group Two: South West, West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales (Regional Network Co-ordinator TBC)
Group Three: North & North-Midlands (Paul Kelly – Regional Network Co-ordinator)

Playlist for Life

Surrinder Bains, Communities Officer from Playlist for Life, gave CMLs an introduction to their services and how community libraries can get involved to support people with dementia, their family or their carers.

Any organisation that can provide free advice, support or activity to people affected by dementia are invited to apply to be a ‘Help Point’.
Help Points can be a physical location where people can pick up leaflets and materials about making a personalised playlist, but many organisations have found new ways of connecting with their service users over the phone or digitally with technology such as Zoom. No matter how you reach your community, there are multiple ways for you to set up your Help Point and share the power of personal music.

Playlist for Life provide a range of FREE resources to help users to create their own personalised playlists and to understand the benefits.

Find Out More

Playlist for Life – Get Involved!

Greenhill Community Library – An Introduction

Chris Brown, vice-chairman and the overall events lead at Greenhill Community Library, joined us at our January 23 Network meeting to tell us more about the Sheffield based community library.

As an “associate” library of Sheffield City Libraries, Greenhill is funded through a combination of a grant from the council, occasional smaller grants and awards, and their own fundraising.
They offer a range of services and events, from talks, cinema showings and coding to farmers markets and ‘open gardens’.

Book circulation is managed through Koha library management system and 60% of their issues are made up from “Yellow Sticker” books which are donated or bought from their own funds.

Greenhill Community Library has an excellent track record of engaging with their community, including through a Friends of Scheme which raises funds for the organisation also giving voting rights to “Friends” at Annual General Meetings.

If you would like to connect with Greenhill Community Library to chat further or to arrange a visit, please contact Chris Neath:

Find Out More

Greenhill Community Library – Presentation