Child reading a book

Councils have a statutory duty to deliver library services for their communities. Like councils across the country, there is a need for libraries to make significant savings to support the balancing of budgets.

Our proposal

We are proposing the introduction of community managed libraries. These will sit alongside the integration of customer service functions into libraries as part of our redesigned offer for residents.

On 20 February, cabinet gave approval to start informal engagement with communities to assess the feasibility of a community managed library model. Thoughts from communities will be gathered to help understand what they would need to support the introduction of such a model.

It is proposed that there will be:

  • Ten integrated libraries which will enable place-based access to Customer Service functions from more locations.
  • Six community supported libraries which will continue to deliver the service via a combination of paid staff and volunteers.
  • Eight community managed libraries.

The eight libraries proposed to become community managed libraries are Denby Dale, Honley, Kirkheaton, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield, Shepley and Skelmanthorpe. However, any library can express an interest in becoming a Community Managed Library and take part in the informal engagement.

How to get involved

We want communities to be part of our feasibility discussions and we want to ensure that we reach as many people as possible. With this in mind, we are speaking with anyone else who is interested in the future management of their library. We will discuss our proposals and gather feedback from communities before moving into a more formal consultation process.

If you are interested in finding out how to be more involved in your local library or if you have any questions please get in touch.

Email us

What a community managed library is

There are different models and examples of community managed approaches. A community managed library has no paid staff and is managed and run by a community organisation or charity. They will be part of the library 'network' but may or may not be part of statutory provision.

Provision of equipment, infrastructure, central support differs across authorities. The Community Libraries Network provides research and case studies of different approaches.

Our proposal would mean that the community managed libraries would have continued access to our IT infrastructure, equipment and the network including the catalogue, full continued access to book stock, and some management support. We are keen to speak with communities to discuss how this would work, and this is what the initial conversations will be about.

Benefits of community managed libraries

The proposed model enables increased community involvement in, and control over, local library services. Communities can shape the service to meet local needs.

A community managed library may be able to access funding grants or resources to strengthen their offer which would not have been available as a council funded service.

A locally run and resourced library, with professional support from the council, may be better resourced and therefore able to provide a broader service than one provided directly by a more financially constrained council.

Community managed libraries reduce council operating costs and enable smaller communities to retain a library that might otherwise have to close.

Many community managed libraries at least retain the previous opening hours or may even find ways to increase them.

Volunteering in a community library can provide people with a wide range of experience in roles that can help them enter paid employment. They also provide people with an opportunity to give something back to their community and meet new people through volunteering at the library.

Current model

Kirklees Libraries have eight town libraries and 16 community supported libraries alongside a Home Service, Transcription Service, and a broad outreach offer.

All libraries have paid staff working alongside volunteers with community supported libraries relying on volunteers to deliver the daily frontline service and support events and activities. Friends of Groups are established at some libraries and provide vital support, advocacy, capacity and added value to the service.

Library locations are a combination of council owned buildings, both single use and shared, and community owned/managed buildings. Some buildings were previously asset transferred, with Friends of Groups and other key community groups enabling the delivery of services within these spaces with limited assets related costs to the council.

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