2012 Local Libraries News

News stories from the Bournemouth Echo and the Dorset Echo:
New chapter in Chickerell library story
3:00pm Saturday 22 December 2012

After months of negotiations with Dorset County Council, supporters of the libraries that lost core funding from the authority are making the final preparations before they are handed over. Puddletown, Chickerell, Wool, Colehill, Stalbridge, Burton Bradstock and Charmouth libraries will all be under the control of the communities by February 28. Negotiations are still ongoing with the community in Corfe Castle with a view to it becoming the county’s eighth community-run library.

Volunteers will run the libraries, which will be independent and self-governed, but they will receive support in the form of books, staffing and IT services from the council in a package worth £5,000 for each library per year. There may be changes to the opening hours at some of the community run libraries as volunteers plan to extend opening hours or change opening times to better meet local needs.

The transfer of the libraries comes as Dorset County Council aims to save £725,000 from its library service budget. Cabinet member for community services Hilary Cox said: “I am very pleased that by working together in partnership and through careful listening and constructive negotiation, we have now finalised dates for local communities to take over the responsibility for running seven libraries with support from Dorset County Council. The county council appreciates the local leadership and hard work that has been done. This innovative approach is good for local communities, while helping us to manage our reduced budget, which we have to do. I would like to thank all the volunteers for coming forward.”

Graham Lee, chairman of Ad Lib (Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries) said: “Sixteen months ago, eight community libraries located throughout the county were faced with the stark choice of being closed through the lack of funding or managing the libraries themselves. The response of the community which are volunteers to this challenge has been remarkable.”

Bingo night boost for library
6:30pm Saturday 15 December 2012

... a cash boost from a charity bingo evening held at local pub The Black Bear, ... has raised £500. Landlady Mel Westwood said: “We wanted to do something to support the Friends who have worked tirelessly to keep the library in the village. It’s typical of this community and my regulars to have a lively evening for a good cause.”

Volunteer co-ordinator for the Friends of Wool Library Christine Reber said: “People were so generous. We received not only clear messages of support but I actually recruited a further volunteer on the night!”

Dorset library service nets bronze award
3:00pm Saturday 8 December 2012

Dorset County Council’s library service has scooped an award for its efforts in encouraging adults to read.

The bronze award was presented to the council at the Reading Agency Six Book Challenge awards ceremony in London by author Adele Parks. It recognised the library service’s scheme which asks adults to pick six reads and record their reading in a diary to get a certificate. It is designed to engage those who struggle with the written word but is also used to get people into an enjoyment of reading.

Cllr Hilary Cox, cabinet member for community services, said: “I am thrilled that our library staff have been rewarded.”

Volunteers are honoured at Volunteer Centre Dorset awards
5:00pm Friday 30 November 2012

[One of the 25 'Volunteer Group of the Year' prize-winners was Wimborne Minster Chained Library]

Deputy manager [of the Volunteer Centre Dorset] Craig Womble said “Groups that you may never have thought of add to our experiences on many different levels including, art, culture, sport, care and the environment.”

Expect change but not cuts to Bournemouth libraries
1:27pm Tuesday 27 November 2012

Library closures have been officially ruled out in Bournemouth as the council looks at other ways of making the service more efficient.

Bournemouth residents are being invited to take part in a consultation as to how the library service can be improved and made cheaper to run.

But Cllr Lawrence Williams, cabinet member for corporate policy implementation, said this would not result in any closures being proposed. “You can rule that out,” he said. “We’re looking at making things more efficient and we’re looking for suggestions from the public and staff and councillors and everybody. It’s not all about cuts, it’s about changes.”

Residents can have their say by making suggestions in any of the town’s libraries, joining a focus group or taking part in an e-panel survey at bournemouth.gov.uk/novepanel.

Cllr Williams added: “We know that the library service is well used and valued. We are reviewing the service across the board to make sure that we are operating as efficiently as possible whilst continuing to provide a high quality service and encouraging more residents to use our public libraries. It’s important that residents have their say now to tell us how we can meet their needs in the future.”

Following the consultation, recommendations will be made at cabinet in March 2013.

Medi Bernard, service and strategy manager for Bournemouth Libraries, said: “Elected members have no plans currently to close libraries. The consultation focuses on us asking the public for their views to help us make informed decisions about future library services and all residents are invited to take part. The feedback and information we receive from the consultation methods will then help us to prioritise services whilst facing financial challenges. One potential change is that more services will share and operate from library buildings and this makes practical sense as a range of services are available for customers.”

New chapter for Dorset libraries
11:30am Monday 19 November 2012

The new year will mark a new era for seven Dorset libraries as they begin life under community management. Final arrangements are underway after Dorset County Council ceased funding to the facilities and agreed to hand them over to the control of communities.

The handover process has already been completed at libraries in Burton Bradstock and Charmouth. Those at Chickerell, Puddletown, Wool, Colehill and Stalbridge will be transferred to the communities early next year.

Graham Lee, chairman of the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries (Ad Lib), said: “Sixteen months ago, eight community libraries located throughout the county were faced with the stark choice of being closed through the lack of funding or managing the libraries themselves. The response of the community which are volunteers to this challenge has been remarkable. We are at least near the end of the negotiations designed not only to give the libraries and sound start but also a secure future.”

He added “The efforts made by the county council towards achieving this are much appreciated. The communities involved look forward to a long term working relationship with the library service that ensures that the commitment of their volunteers remains well rewarded.”

The move comes after Dorset County Council withdrew core funding to nine libraries as part of the service’s bid to save £725,000.

Portland Underhill Library closed in April after no agreement could be reached with the local community to take on the facility and talks are still ongoing in relation to the handover of Corfe Castle Library.

The community-run libraries will be fully independent and self-governed but will have a package of support from the council worth around £5,500 a year for each library that will include staffing, books and IT services.

Cabinet member for community services councillor Hilary Cox said: “I am very pleased that by working together in partnership and through careful listening and constructive negotiation, we are now looking to finalise dates for local communities to take over the responsibility for running seven libraries with support from Dorset County Council. “The county council appreciates the local leadership and hard work that has been done. “This innovative approach is good for local communities, while helping us to manage our reduced budget, which we have to do. “I would like to thank all the volunteers for coming forward.”

Plans to re-open Charmouth Library as community hub now in hands of volunteers
12:00pm Wednesday 14 November 2012

The project to re-open Charmouth Library as a community hub has taken a major step forward with the building now in the hands of volunteers. The Friends of Charmouth Library set up Charmouth Central Ltd, which last week took over the freehold of the building from Dorset County CouncilA ‘pound and a peppercorn’ were paid to the council so the price would not put too much strain on hard-earned funds. The Friends set up Charmouth Central Ltd specifically to take on the freehold, which can only be used for community benefit. It is set to become a community complex offering activities for all ages, a meeting room, retail area, internet café, and public toilet.

Friends chairman Hazel Robinson said the building requires work before it can be opened as a community space. She said: “DCC is making an ex-gratia payment to help fund renewal of the flat roof, removal of asbestos-containing vinyl tiles and the installation of central heating. “The library will be closed for four weeks in the New Year to allow this work to be done. “The library service will be officially handed over in February.

“The library itself will be transformed into Charmouth Central, community library and, eventually, internet cafe. “We say ‘eventually’ because we don't yet know when DCC will install up-to-date computers and wi-fi although we know it will be in early 2013.

DCC are also providing books, the library management system and three hours' professional staff time a week to Charmouth and to the other seven Dorset libraries which are to become community-managed in 2013.

“All the rest is our responsibility. We have to fund everything and provide volunteers to man what will now become a real community hub, not just a library, open much longer hours and available for small groups to use out-of-hours. “We have already established Rhymetime and a tea and chat club for the over 50s and the library hosts two book groups, a creative writing group and a seniors’ discussion group. But that’s just the beginning.
From 2013 on, watch this space, there will be something for you and, if there isn’t, tell us and we'll make sure there is.”

The Friends of Charmouth Library are now awaiting news on their bid for a £50,000 grant from Village SOS, part of the Big Lottery Fund. This will pay for an extension to the building and the grant was dependent on the group having the freehold.

Hilary Cox, county council cabinet member for community services, said: “I am very pleased that by working together in partnership and through careful listening and constructive negotiation we are now looking to finalise dates for local communities to take over the responsibility for running seven libraries, including Charmouth Library, with support from Dorset County Council. The county council appreciates the local leadership and hard work that has been done.”

Bright future ahead for Corfe Castle Library, say volunteers
4:00pm Tuesday 13 November 2012

Corfe Castle Community Library will be “up and running” during 2013, volunteers behind the project insist. Friends of Corfe Castle Community Library committee spokesman Angelika Seik said: “We had a very encouraging meeting with Dorset County Council and the Dorset Library Service. We have come to the conclusion that with our mutual determination and a positive attitude, we could have Corfe Castle Community Library up and running during 2013.

“It has also been agreed that our happy band of volunteers could start opening the library for extra hours on Friday afternoon.” This extra opening time, from 2-4pm, starts on December 7.

Angelika said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to come. The volunteers will also provide some Christmas activities, both for adults and children.”

Corfe’s library was set to close because of county budget cuts. However, county hall agreed to allow it, alongside seven other county libraries, to become ‘community libraries’ earlier this year.

A new chapter for library boss
11:00am Tuesday 30 October 2012

Library users have bid a fond farewell to their manager as she starts a new chapter after nearly 20 years. [She] has been at Puddletown Library for more than 19 years but, with Dorset County Council withdrawing its core funding for the facility, has been transferred to Crossways.

Regular library users and members of Friends of Puddletown Library, which will take on the running of the facility, put on a special tea party to mark her last shift.

Marilyn said: “I would happily have worked on in Puddletown until retirement.
I made so many friends at this little library that I never wanted to move. In the nineteen-and-a-half years I have been here I have seen young readers grow and bring their own children here to share the joy of books. I wish the Friends of Puddletown Library every success when they take over and their volunteers run the place as a community asset.”

Chairman Mike Chaney said: “We could not have had a more helpful or welcoming librarian.”

The friends group is hoping to complete the takeover later this year, with the county council providing temporary staff to support them in the meantime.

Relocation plan outlined for Lyme Regis Library
12:00pm Thursday 18 October 2012

Proposals to re-locate Lyme Regis Library and LymeNet to the Woodmead Halls site will be outlined to the public on Friday, October 19.

The Woodmead Halls is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a party at 7.30pm on Friday.

It will include a presentation from consultant David Gale, on behalf of Lyme Regis Development Trust, about plans to move the two facilities to the Hill Road site. Although the plans are still in the very early stages, with talks taking place between the development trust and the Woodmead Halls Management Committee, it is thought the library and community learning centre could be housed in a two-storey extension to the halls.

At Friday’s celebration, the management committee chairman Stan Williams will also talk about the history of the Woodmead Halls, and vice-chairman Nick Robertson will talk about the enhancement plans, which includes proposals for a third hall.

Committee member Charlie Kapur will talk about the technical changes that have been made to the halls over the years, including Wi-Fi and plasma televisions.

The committee has invited 59 local organisations who use the facility and the event is open to the general public.

Charmouth library ‘hub’ plans discussed
7:00pm Thursday 11 October 2012

Charmouth Library could be reopened as a community hub by December as plans are approved for an extension to the building. Volunteers from the village have agreed to take over the library following county council cuts and it has relaunched as Charmouth Central. It has been renamed to symbolise its new role as a community complex, offering activities for all ages, and has become a company limited by guarantee.

Plans have now been approved for an extension to the building to create a meeting room, retail area, internet cafe, public toilet, and disabled access. The Friends of Charmouth Library said the extension is essential to generate enough income to cover the running costs of the building. But the extension will only be possible if they can secure a £50,000 grant from Village SOS, part of the Big Lottery Fund. And in a further twist, the grant will only be possible if the Friends can take over the freehold of the building from Dorset County Council.

Hazel Robinson, chairman of the Friends, said: “Of course, the extension depends on a grant from Village SOS and the grant depends on our having the freehold. Training of volunteers has begun and, though the date for handover has slowly moved away from its original date of September 1, it does look as though Charmouth will have its community library by December – maybe.” 

Volunteers take over Burton Bradstock library 
7:30pm Thursday 4 October 2012

Volunteers have opened a new chapter in the history of Burton Bradstock library. Keys to the library have been handed over to the parish council and the community by the county council.

£2million is possibly needed for Dorchester's Charles Street development
11:30am Thursday 4 October 2012

The first phase of the scheme has already caused widespread anger as the council voted to build its new headquarters and a new library on the site.

Group fights to keep Corfe Castle Library open
6:00pm Tuesday 2 October 2012

A new committee has been formed in a bid to keep threatened Corfe Castle Library open. The new Friends of Corfe Castle Library elected Alison Allwright group chairman and Nicholas Monro deputy.

Group spokesman Angelika Seik said: “Our main function will be to secure the future of the library and oversee its transition to a community-run library next year. We will also be the umbrella organisation for the many volunteers helping to run it.” The group still needs a secretary to work alongside Alison, says Angelika.

Last minute reprise for threatened library 
3:00pm Monday 1 October 2012

Wool Library supporters say they’re close to finalising a deal to keep their threatened library open.

The library looked like closing until Dorset County Council agreed to allow it to become a ‘community library.’ County Hall had earlier decided to withdraw its financial support for Wool Library as part of a programme of widespread cuts.

Now, the Friends of Wool Library chairman David Smith said: “Our negotiations with Dorset County Council are drawing close to a conclusion. We hope to be signing a formal agreement soon and arrange a handover date.”

Delight as community takes over library 
6:28pm Friday 28 September 2012

The library building lease is now held by Burton Bradstock Parish Council who have sub-leased it to the Friends of Burton Bradstock Library. The Friends will now manage and maintain the building.

There are plans to transfer the running of the library service in the next few months. The Friends in Burton Bradstock already support the library by providing volunteers to run the service six hours per week, allowing the library to open two hours per day, six days per week. Under the new arrangements the Friends will be responsible for operating the full service.

Hilary Cox, cabinet member for community services at Dorset County Council, said: “After more than four years of hard work and discussions, the community has finally taken over the lease of the building. “This is the first of eight library buildings to be handed over to the local community, the rest are expected to follow later this autumn. The approach we have taken will help us maintain a strong service, providing a good spread of libraries across the county with mobile libraries to continue serving isolated rural areas. We are delighted that all but one of the libraries that may have closed will now remain open and being run by their local community will offer more for their community.”

The transfer of the eight community libraries will help find savings of approximately £100,000 towards the £800,000 savings needed by the end of 2012. The other seven libraries due to transfer later this year include Charmouth, Chick-erell, Colehill, Corfe Castle , Puddletown , Stalbridge and Wool .

Mrs Cox added: “I wish them all well and look forward to seeing how they develop their local libraries.”

‘Two Aims’ Achieved

Dr Graham Moody, chairman of Burton Bradstock Parish Council, said: “The Parish Council is pleased that working together with the Friends of Burton Bradstock Library and the county council has lead to a successful conclusion. “The transfer arrangements will help sustain and secure the use of the building as a base for library and community services in the long term. “In addition to the Friends maintaining the library we look forward to the development of further community use of this valuable asset.” 

Professor Hynds, chairman of the Friends of Burton Bradstock Library (FBBL) trustees, said: “We have had, from the start of the negotiations with Dorset County Council in 2007, two aims. One was to save the Burton Bradstock library from closure, the second was to obtain the library building for community use outside of library hours. The fact that we have achieved both aims is due to the constant encouragement, engagement and financial support from the membership of the Friends. We have also worked closely with the Parish Council in dealing with the complicated legal arrangements needed to achieve our aims.”

Community group set to take over Wool village library
12:30pm Thursday 20 September 2012

After a year of discussions the Friends of Wool Library group are nearing the takeover of the village library. The group was set up as Wool was one of nine libraries faced with the withdrawal of core funding from Dorset County Council and is now close to reaching a formal agreement to run the facility on behalf of the local community. The move has also seen the local parish council move in to share the library space, supporting the business plan put forward by the Friends group.

Chairman David Smith thanked all those who have supported the move to take over the running of the library. He added: “Our team of volunteers will start training shortly so they too will be finding their feet. “They intend to provide a service that the community, both the long-established and newcomers, wants and deserves. “We are looking forward to closer co-operation with the local schools, supplementing their activities, particularly in extending both the skills and the joy of reading.”

The Friends group is still looking for volunteers who are willing to give up as little as three to six hours a month of their time to help keep the library open.

Free wi-fi comes to libraries
4:00pm Monday 17th September 2012

Poole residents will soon benefit from high speed internet browsing as wi-fi arrives in local libraries. From today it will offer people free access to check their email and surf the web on their own mobiles, tablets and notebooks. Libraries also have computers which anyone can use free of charge.

“It is vital that all our libraries provide residents with access to modern technology,” said Cllr Judy Butt, cabinet portfolio holder for public engagement and participation. “I am delighted that wi-fi will soon be available as it provides a great opportunity for our residents and visitors to get on-line when it suits them using their own personal equipment, be it laptop, smart phone or tablet which in turn extends the use of the desktop library computers.

Council objects to lower library build standard 
5:00pm Wednesday 8 August 2012

Town councillors have launched a scathing attack on a bid to lower the building requirements on the new Dorchester Library.

The original plans for the new facility, which shares a building with the West Dorset District Council ’s new offices at Charles Street, included an excellent BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environment Method) rating for energy efficient design. However, developers Simons have now put in a planning application to amend the BREEAM requirement level from excellent to very good. The standard for the council office part of the building will remain at excellent. Town councillor Molly Rennie asked: “Why should something now go from excellent to very good?” The committee agreed to object to the application and recommend refusal on the grounds that it was a radical departure from the original concept and agreed planning brief.

Lyme Regis: Birth of new era at library 
10:00am Saturday 7 July 2012

Library supporters are renaming their library Charmouth Central to mark the birth of a new era.

The group is set to take the reigns at the end of September after a long battle to keep it open amid Dorset County Council cutbacks.

They are also appealing for people to keep fundraising for the library... 

Hazel Robinson, chairman of Friends of Charmouth Library (FoCL), said: “The time for protest is over and the time for us to be proactive has begun.”

To mark the change from a simple library, used only a few hours a week, to a community hub for the whole village, volunteers and residents voted on a new name for the library.

Library services will be at its core but Charmouth Central will also be an internet cafe, a centre for learning and information, a small venue for social groups and a retail outlet for locally-produced goods.

FoCL has also set up Charmouth Central Ltd to take on the freehold from Dorset County Council. Treasurer Bob Hughes said: “We hope to have tenure by August so vital repairs and refurbishment can take place before the handover from DCC at the end of September. “In the meanwhile, we’re still raising money for the equipment we'll need to set up Charmouth Central as it needs to be to have a successful future.

Dorset communities set to take over libraries
12:00pm Thursday 5 July 2012

Portland’s Underhill Library has since closed its doors and been replaced by a mobile library service.

Meanwhile seven other communities – at Puddletown, Chickerell, Wool, Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Colehill and Stalbridge – have been in discussions with the county council about taking on their libraries with support from the library service.

The authority’s cabinet has now been informed that positive talks have recently also taken place between council library bosses and the Corfe Castle community with a view to handing over control of their facility.

Head of cultural services Paul Leivers said that, while there were further discussions required in connection with the lease of the library building, the signs were positive that the Friends of Corfe Castle Library would follow in the footsteps of the seven other communities. He said: “I’m very optimistic we could achieve a positive outcome.”

The council is aiming to transfer the running of the seven other libraries to the communities in September and has now set a target of handing over Corfe Castle by April next year.

The cabinet also agreed to provide a one-off set grant to each community of £2,000 to help get the libraries up and running.

Spokesman for the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries (AdLib) Mike Chaney, who is also chairman of the Friends of Puddletown Library, said the offer of the set-up grant had been welcomed by the communities. He said: “They are one-off grants so we plan not to spend ours in Puddletown on revenue costs but to buy all the stuff that we need to run what is in fact a small business these days.”

Another alteration saw members agree to offer a package of support for the communities taking on the libraries on a rolling four-year basis, rather than the three years that had initially been proposed. 

Mr Chaney said the amendment would make it easier for the community groups to apply for grants to support their efforts.

Kate Adie battles for Puddletown library
1:30pm Friday 15 June 2012

Mrs Adie said she was happy to support the Puddletown Library campaigners in their efforts as she was a strong believer in the role of village libraries. She said: “They play such a vital part in rural life that I am delighted to be able to help the people of Puddletown keep their library open.”

Mr Chaney said the Friends group was still waiting for the money to come in but it was likely to be a significant boost to their fundraising efforts and the campaigners were also in the process of applying for a number of grants to fund their running of the library He said that the Puddletown Friends were now keen to get a move on and make progress with their plans, although Dorset County Council’s library service could not guarantee that the handover would happen before October.

Treasurer Stephen Buck added: “The volunteers are itching to get to work extending both the range of activities offered within the library building and the hours of opening.”

Boyzone star Shane Lynch officially opens library at Corfe Mullen School
11:00am Saturday 26 May 2012

Boyzone star Shane Lynch has cut the red ribbon on a new library on an “inspirational” visit to a Corfe Mullen School. Shane, who enjoyed massive success as part of the chart-topping boy band, was at Lockyers Middle School filming part of a documentary when he performed the honours on Friday.

The new library, formerly the ICT suite, was created during a wider £250,000 revamp last year to make rooms for a new kitchen to provide hot school meals. It is bigger, brighter and has more computer access.

Former war reporter Kate Adie lends support to Puddletown library
11:00am Wednesday 16 May 2012

The ex-BBC chief news correspondent will be telling the story of her life at an event to help raise money for the Friends of Puddletown Library on Saturday, June 9 from 7pm.

The library is faced with the loss of core funding from Dorset County Council and the Friends group is looking to take on the running of the facility for the community.

Treasurer Stephen Buck said: “We are delighted and grateful to have such a big name come to support our efforts to raise money for our library. We are stocking up our piggy bank so that we can take over and run our village library entirely by voluntary effort when Dorset County Council stops funding it later this year.”

Balancing the books: Echo investigation reveals shocking library figures
1:00pm Tuesday 15 May 2012

THE cost of replacing unreturned library books is more than the amount needed to run an axed library for two years.

It would take £95,896.04 to replace overdue library books which have been loaned out from Dorset Libraries in the same amount of time.

But in 2009/10 and 2010/11 Portland Underhill library running costs were £23,033.10 and £25,808.27 respectively.

The shocking figures – revealed following a Freeedom of Information request by the Dorset Echo – are revealed as Portland Underhill library finally closed its doors to the public.

The Portland library loaned 6,722 items in 2010/11 – a 12 per cent decline on the previous year.

But more than 4,000 books were not returned to the county’s library service in 2011.
Last July, a proposal to withdraw funding to nine of the county’s libraries was passed to help reduce the library service’s budget by £800,000. Business plans have now been approved for community groups to move forward in their bit to take over seven, but Portland Underhill is not one of them. It will be replaced by a mobile service.

Dorset County Council library service manager Tracy Long said: “In the previous two years, Dorset Library Service has issued 5,619,648 items. Over 99.8 per cent of these items are returned to libraries with a small percentage of items not returned. There is an overdue procedure in place to remind customers to return or renew their items. When items are very overdue and not returned, this could result in the withdrawal of an individual’s borrowing rights. A balance has to be drawn on securing the return of books against the costs of any additional and special measures to recover them. Options for a cost-effective process to recover the stock have been considered by the county council’s audit, legal and debt recovery services, and the current approach is considered to be appropriate. We would stress, however, that while these unreturned books have a value of £95,000, their return would not bring new money into the library service budget in order to keep libraries open. Portland Underhill, which is open for 12 hours per week, is the county council library which issues the lowest number of books and other items. While talks are taking place over the possible transfer of eight libraries to other communities in Dorset, there was no viable community approach or response regarding Portland Underhill.”

There are currently 148,111 Dorset Libraries card holders. Of these, 5,088 have outstanding items that were due back before 2012.

Mike Chaney, of the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries, said: “In my experience, the council are quite good about making sure people pay their fines and return books, so in that respect I don’t know how they came by such a figure.”

More than 1,500 items outstanding: At the time the Echo received this information, 1,579 books were outstanding that were due for return in December 2011. These are still subject to Dorset Libraries’ overdue process and a proportion of these were expected to come back over the coming weeks. The cost of these unreturned items was £19,442.10 and is included in the total. The daily charge for overdue books is 20p per day. Library card holders who owe £6 or more are unable to borrow further items until those outstanding are returned. The maximum charge for overdue library books is £12.
Mobile library will replace Portland's Underhill facility
2:00pm Tuesday 24 April 2012
 A new mobile library service is being launched on Portland. The island’s Underhill Library closes at the end of April and the mobile library service will visit the area every Monday (except Bank Holidays) from 2.30pm to 4.30pm, starting April 30.

With the library service needing to reduce its annual budget by £800,000, county council members last year agreed to retain 25 libraries and offer up the remaining nine to be managed by local communities. Portland Underhill is the county council library which issues the lowest number of books and other items.

Talks with community representatives failed to spark any interest in taking over the running of the building, which is leased by the council and will revert back to its landlord following the closure.

Dorset County Council’s head of community services, Paul Leivers, said: “We are making good progress in our discussions to transfer eight libraries across Dorset to local community control, but there was no desire to do so in the Portland Underhill area. The new mobile library service will give local people an opportunity to borrow books without having to travel to neighbouring libraries.”

Wool library campaigners closer to taking over facility
11:00am Sunday 22 April 2012
The Friends group, which now has 100 members and a roster of volunteers in place, has received a further boost to their plans with a generous donation from a local firm. The Bovington Employees Support Team (BEST) at Babcock International has donated £200 to help the Friends meet the running costs when they take over the facility.

Treasurer of BEST Kay Paynter said: “We are delighted to do our bit to help keep this facility in the parish of Wool and Bovington and the wider local community. The library is valued by the young and old alike, it is also quite a social hub. We hope that other groups and organisations will follow our lead and get behind this. We know how hard the Friends have worked to keep the library open.”

David Smith, chairman of Friends of Wool Library, said: “This is a tremendous message of support both for and from our local community. In our business plan accepted by the Dorset County Council cabinet, we estimated we needed to raise at least £1,500 for our first year of operation. The good news is that with over 100 paid-up members of the Friends and this start-up donation we are 45 per cent of the way there. I am also pleased to announce a small donation of £35 from the Wool Short Tennis Group. We still need more funds, we still need more Friends and we still need a few more volunteers but we are ready to roll as and when we can conclude negotiations with the council.”
Bournemouth’s library services is one of only 13 successful bids to the arts council, securing £10,000 of funding to launch the technology at points of interest around the town.
The QR Code project will initially be piloted at Bournemouth Library ... with codes attached to various literature collections. Free training will be provided from July to the public on how this new technology can be used.
Don’t let society become history
10:18am Wednesday 11 April 2012
Letter from Neil Bancroft: ... Christchurch Local History Society has effectively been evicted from the Library.

The Society, in the upstairs History Room, has for many years provided a service to all who are interested in our town’s long history, as well as helping with many local family history queries. This service has been provided free of charge by Society volunteers at no cost to Christchurch Council or the Dorset Library Service.

The Christchurch Library building in the High Street was once the home of noted Christchurch historian Herbert Druitt and his extensive collection of letters, documents and books formed the nucleus of the Society’s local history records.

Although alternative accommodation has been found in Wick Lane this is much smaller than the History Room and much of the collection has had to be put in alternative storage where it is not available for reference or study, which is very much contrary to Herbert Druitt’s expressed wishes.

It is only to be hoped that when the library alterations are completed the collection can be returned, in its entirety, to its rightful home, together with the facilities to use it, at a reasonable price that the society can afford.
£2m refurbishment work begins on Christchurch library
8:00am Tuesday 27 March 2012

Work on the £2million controversial development of Christchurch Library has begun following the departure of Kelly’s Kitchen. The county council has been working for years to extend the town centre library.

The building, in the High Street is to be completely refurbished and extended into the former cafe, which, after years of battling, has made way for the scheme’s brand new children’s area.

Dorset County Council says the library is one of the county’s busiest, with thousands of visitors each week. In 2010/11 there were 220,000 visitors to the library.

However, they claim there is a severe lack of space for study, seating, events and children’s activities.

The library project, which is being undertaken by Morgan Sindall, will increase the public library space by 60 per cent and will see internal and external changes.

The front façade of the former cafe will be remodelled to remove the picture windows and canopies, which will be replaced with a design similar to the original building. And the existing shop front windows will be swapped with two display windows.

Plans to replace the brick boundary wall in the garden at the rear with the external wall of the new extension will see the new space turned into a “teenage zone” called Headspace. This is being developed in consultation with youngsters in the borough.

The county council’s adult services will relocate from their existing premises in Bargates with classrooms, an IT suite and offices on the first and second floors.

There will also be space within the building for meeting areas for local community groups.

Work will be carried out in two main phases and expected to open in Spring 2013. It is hoped the library will remain open during most of the work although there will be two short periods of closure, one in November or December and the other just before the opening in Spring 2013.

Hilary Cox, cabinet member for community services said: “These changes will provide a much larger, fit-for-purpose library, together with improved learning and community facilities.”

Town centre ward councillor Peter Hall said: “This is an excellent move because Christchurch library is the second busiest library in the county. The £2million extension will bring the size of the library close to what it should be. It is something we can all be exceptionally proud of. This considerable investment in Christchurch shows that county are investing in the town.”

Other improvements

• Improvement in book stock.

• New “chillout” zone with quick choice books, information displays and an area for use of snacks and drinks vending machines.

• Comfortable space for people to browse read and use facilities.

• Revamped study and reference area including computers.

• Increase in choice and size of accommodation to be hired by local community groups.

• Improved lighting and new flooring.

• New public toilets and access to ground, first and second floors with installation of a lift.

The new Kelly’s Kitchen, at the former Jarvis Radio premises just yards from the library, is due to open this week.

Charmouth: Library roof to be refurbished before hand-over
10:30am Saturday 24 March 2012

The Friends of Charmouth library have persuaded Dorset County Council to refurbish the building’s roof and heating system before handing it over to the community.

Hazel Robinson, chairman of Friends of Charmouth Library, said: “In the case of Charmouth, it would have been impossible for the Friends to have taken on the library unless the roof and heating system were put into good order before the September handover. The good news was that this was agreed.

“The bad news was that requests for set-up grants were turned down.” The community will have to find the money to refurbish the damp-stained interior, to install the chairs, tables and other equipment necessary to set it up as an internet café and to finance all the costs involved while the ‘business’ becomes established, added Mrs Robinson. She said Friends of Charmouth Library have every intention of meeting the challenge. Mrs Robinson added: “There will also – of necessity – have to be a continuing programme of fundraising activities.

Redhill parents protest against closure of Hill View School library
11:00am Monday 19 March 2012

Concerned parents are fighting plans to increase pupil numbers at Bournemouth’s second biggest primary school – a move that will mean the loss of the school library.

Liz Cowley, who has a daughter in reception, said: “The library is an essential facility. Just this week we have heard that reading standards are declining and yet they are talking about closing the school library.”

Cllr Nicola Greene, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said ... “There would be no loss of library provision as facilities would be accommodated in other parts of the school.”

Dorset County Council questioned on mobile library decision
2:00pm Sunday 18 March 2012

A Councillor has slammed a decision to send a mobile library to a village with its own library as ‘bureaucracy gone mad’.

Dorset county councillor Ron Coatsworth wants answers as to why the mobile library goes to Burton Bradstock when it has a community-led library of its own.

Coun Coatsworth was told the council’s strategic plan for libraries agreed on the provision of mobile library services to the nine communities the county council had withdrawn funding from – and that includes Burton Bradstock.

A spokesman for the county council said: “The county council was advised some of the community may find the mobile library service convenient as a local access point to the county council's library service and that this service would be for a trial period. In coming to a conclusion, the council had to consider an equalities impact assessment, which includes consideration of rurality. It was assessed that the provision of a mobile library service provided some mitigation of impact.

“It is perhaps worth noting that some other councils which sought to remove or reduce their mobile library services have been subject to successful judicial review.

A decision to withdraw the service will therefore be made when local people have had the opportunity to experience the community-managed service and a mobile library service.”

A new approach to library service
10:37am Tuesday 13 March 2012

Letter from Paul Leivers Head of community services Dorset County Council
"I am writing to express my concern about the Echo headline “Calls to help Dorset Libraries at risk of closure rejected” (website, March 8). This is not the case.

The cabinet recognised the considerable efforts of local communities and approved the latest proposals from seven of the communities to take over the future running of the libraries. It was agreed that buildings need to be handed over in reasonable condition.

The costs of this are part of the £24,200 that the Echo says was rejected by the council.

The cabinet noted and agreed to the request for further meetings with communities and Ad Lib to work out further details and to discuss and agree any additional support required including essential building work or repairs prior to the hand-over.

The decision which you reported was made after the cabinet heard very positive presentations by two communities, the views of a number of local county councillors and of Ad Lib. All these showed the clear creativity and commitment from communities to this new way of providing library and other services for local people.

This was an important stage in the process of the council and communities working together on the new arrangements. More discussion and further work is required, but progress is good. Both the communities and the county council are committed to making a success of this new approach and it is unfortunate that the Echo gave such a negative headline. "

Calls to help Dorset libraries at risk of closure rejected
1:30pm Thursday 8 March 2012

Chairman of the library campaign group Ad Lib (the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries) Graham Lee said he still had some concerns about the finer details of the proposal for communities to take on the running of the libraries and requested a meeting to iron out any issues. He said: “I suggest a meeting with all the proposed community libraries, representatives from Ad Lib and officers from the library service to take place at the earliest opportunity.

The cabinet also refused to grant a request from the library communities for various amounts of additional funding totalling £24,200 in start up and maintenance costs. However, cabinet member for community services Hilary Cox said some funds would be found in existing capital budgets to ensure that the libraries were handed over to the communities in a suitable condition. She said: “It may not exactly meet the wish list but there is funding available.” Councillor Cox added: “We must ensure the buildings we hand over are in reasonable condition.”

Dorset council says no to extra help for community libraries
12:30pm Thursday 8th March 2012

Dorset county councillors have turned down pleas to provide additional resources to help communities take over libraries threatened with closure.

Yesterday members of the council’s cabinet approved the latest proposals to allow them to move forward with the handover of control, but turned down a specific request for additional resources to start up the new community libraries.

Corfe Castle and Portland Underhill face a very real prospect of closure, although Mr Leivers [the council’s head of community services] said the community in Corfe Castle was hoping to hold a meeting in the near future.

Dorset residents threatened by cuts ask to take over libraries
1:30pm Tuesday 6 March 2012

Seven communities set to lose core funding for their Libraries have submitted business plans to take on the facilities themselves.

Two of the libraries, those at Portland Underhill and Corfe Castle, have been unable to attract enough support to take on the facilities and are expected to close their doors.

A report going before the council’s cabinet tomorrow reveals that supporters of the other seven libraries at Chickerell, Puddletown, Wool, Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Colehill and Stalbridge have all submitted business plans for the future running of the service.

Spokesman for the campaign group Ad Lib (the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries) Mike Chaney said: “We are pleased that seven of the nine libraries look as though they are going to go ahead, which is quite good for the rural communities of Dorset. But it is really going to be hard work, we all know that.” He added: “I’m delighted that so many people have come in behind this and, at a time when everyone is being asked to do more volunteering work and to take on more and more things, that a job like the library service should have attracted so much help.”

One area of contention could be additional support outside of that offered by the council already that the local communities have requested. This includes funds for start-up costs, repairs and maintenance and will be considered at the Cabinet meeting.

The report states: “Business cases could be approved on the basis that the county council will provide the agreed package of support without any additional resource support. This brings the risk that some local communities may feel that without any additional resource support from the county council, their plans to take on the responsibility for the building and for the provision of a non-core library service cannot progress.” It also says: “There is no funding available to meet the additional needs over and above the agreed package of support that has been defined and costed.”

Mr Chaney said he hoped the cabinet would look at ways of providing the extra resources and said he also had concerns about the volunteers being given enough time to take on the libraries on the proposed handover date at the end of September.

Dorset County Council's £2.5m gravy train: Officers' 'horrendous' wages
10:00am Friday 24 February 2012

Dorset County Council has released figures that show it spends nearly £2.5million on the salaries of 30 management staff, who earn between £50,022 and £147,875 each. The average salary is £83,333.

...adult and community services director Debbie Ward – who is overseeing the withdrawal of core funding to nine Dorset libraries – ... earn[s] £120,921.

Bournemouth University plans to spend £140million
9:42am Thursday 16 February 2012

Proposals include cutting 10 per cent of the staff working in professional support and admin. The university has 721 non-academic staff, but did not answer how many of those were in at risk jobs.

The [new] Lansdowne Exchange building will house the School of Health & Social Care, a student one-stop shop, library and more. One of the school’s current homes, Bournemouth House situated on Christchurch Road, could be sold off for a housing redevelopment.

‘No tax increases or cuts in services’ pledge from Bournemouth Council leader
1:00pm Tuesday 14 February 2012

He [acting leader Cllr John Beesley] said ... they don’t need to cut services to balance the books, although some areas, including ... libraries, arts and the Russell Cotes museum, will be reviewed to ensure they are as efficient as possible.

“There are no cuts in services for 2012/13,” he said. “We’re not going to close libraries, we’re not looking to restrict their hours, what we’re looking to do is to put more services into them to make sure that they are sustainable in the long term.”

MPs support campaigners' fight to save Dorset libraries
12:42pm Tuesday 14 February 2012

Members of the Ad Lib (Association of the Friends of Dorset Libraries) are trying to keep eight libraries in the county open as community-run facilities when Dorset County Council withdraws funding in September.

The group has now received backing from West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin and South Dorset MP Richard Drax at a meeting in Dorchester, as well as the support of MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Annette Brook.

Mr Letwin said: “I’m massively enthusiastic about trying to get the community libraries to work and I intend to do everything I can to help the libraries in West Dorset succeed in doing that.”

Mr Drax said that he and Mr Letwin would be writing to the council in support of Ad Lib but also stressed that the onus was on local people to come forward and support their libraries. He said: “The main emphasis of this is on local people to respond to their local needs and run the libraries themselves.”

The Ad Lib members also updated the MPs on their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman over the way the decision to close the libraries was made by the council. The Ombudsman has asked for further details of the Ad Lib case. 

Celebrate National Libraries Day in Dorset 
3:30pm Friday 3 February 2012

You can an join your local library online by registering and a membership card will be sent by post. Visit https://libcat.dorsetforyou.com/selfreg.

3:30pm Thursday 2 February 2012

Colehill Library will continue to receive 500 books a year from Dorset County Council after its funding is cut in April. Users of the library, in Middlehill Road, will still be able to order online, and the council has also said the self-service scanner and computer system will stay.The council will maintain both of these and provide a professional librarian for three hours a week in an ‘advisory capacity’, Tracy Long, Dorset Library Service manager, has confirmed. 

Around 150 people have volunteered to help run Colehill Community Library. A management committee is being set up to take responsibility for transferring the library from county control. A business plan has been submitted and is due for approval by the council on March 7. 

Colehill Parish Council is raising its precept to provide financial support for three years.
Each household will pay an added £3.50 in 2012/13 to raise the necessary £10,500 for the first year

Friends of Colehill Library will continue to raise funds for special projects.

Campaigners lose Underhill Library fight 
12:30pm Friday 27 January 2012

 Islanders have told of their shock that Portland’s Underhill Library is set to close at the end of April.  

Councillor Elspie Munro-Price, who supported the campaign to save the library, said: “It’s a real shame.“Obviously they’ve got to cut something but I would like to think the community would rally together and end up with a community library in Fortuneswell, run by volunteers. When you think of how many people stood out there in support of the library, it’s quite clear that people want to keep it. When elderly people and young mums have to get transport up the hill to Easton to the library, it means it’s no longer a free service.” 

Portland Underhill, which currently opens for 12 hours per week, is the county council library which issues the lowest number of books and other items – a total of 6,722 in 2010/11, a 12 per cent decline on the previous year. The building is leased by the council, and will revert back to its landlord following the closure.

Fight to keep Colehill Library open 
10:30am Friday 27 January 2012

More than 100 people turned up to plan how to keep Colehill Library open. 

MP Annette Brooke spoke to volunteers at the meeting about the importance of retaining it as a local amenity. Colehill Parish Council chairman, Cllr David Mitchell, gave an introductory talk, before members of the Friends of Colehill Library outlined the financial situation, book handling and the library management system.Derek Henderson, chairman of the Friends, said: “Many questions remain, but most felt that the atmosphere was very positive and very encouraging for the prospect of a community library in Colehill.” 

Last month, parish councillors voted to raise the parish precept in order to make the necessary £10,500 to keep the library open when Dorset County Council withdraws its funding in April.

Portland library to close 
4:49pm Thursday 26 January 2012

Portland Underhill Library is to close at the end of April.

Consultation with community representatives has failed to find any interest among local groups to take over responsibility for running the building from Dorset County Council.

Portland residents will continue to have access to library services at the larger Portland Tophill Library, and plans are being put in place to provide regular mobile library visits as well. 

Charmouth: Campaigners work on plan for library's future
10:00am Friday 6 January 2012

Charmouth was given two choices to save the library – have the parish council take on the lease or the Friends group. The council said it would leave the Friends to take the building on.

Chairman of the Friends, Hazel Robinson, said they were delighted to be given the chance. But she warned that it was a long road ahead and it would mean having to charge adult readers a subscription. She said if neither had been willing to take on the lease the library would be closed by April.

“Charmouth Parish Council realised that allowing FoCL to take on the lease direct with Dorset County Council would save legal fees and leave the Friends the freedom they wanted. This is only the start of the process though as we had to produce a ‘robust’ business plan by January 3 despite the fact that, weeks after asking DCC, we still don’t have accurate figures for the library’s running costs. This business plan will then go to cabinet and, if they approve, the legal process will take place over summer at the same time as volunteer training so that we are ready for handover in September.”

Library service manager Tracy Long said: “We have received the draft business case from the Friends of Charmouth Library regarding the future running of the library building. We have supplied the group with a lot of information to help them put the business case together, but there are still some figures we need to provide.”

Mrs Robinson said it was the intention for the library to become an inclusive social community hub. She added: “It’s not going to be easy to fund and staff the library, but we’re determined to do it.”