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Volunteers needed for Forest Hill Library
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Mr_Numbers


Posts: 511
Joined: May 2012
Post: #21
02-03-2016 12:27 PM

I have to basically agree with you, Perryman, but I think that the chances of this being a short-lived project are almost exactly zero.

This can be a positive move, however, albeit in a different way from being a council-run venture. The involvement of local people - and in particular local business people - could possibly help make the library more responsive to local needs with much, much shorter decision-making processes, not least when it comes to developing ways to generate the funding that will keep the library going and keep it well stocked.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #22
02-03-2016 12:38 PM

Perryman, I too would prefer that Lewisham Council carried on running our library, but now the decision has been made we need to try and do the best we can because the last thing we want is to see it closed.

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Anotherjohn


Posts: 347
Joined: May 2005
Post: #23
02-03-2016 12:44 PM

So won't the existing staff be able to work in the new set-up?

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samuelsen


Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #24
02-03-2016 12:54 PM

Probably unlikely, as they are seeking volunteers, which infers they will be unsalaried?

And the staff who will be losing their jobs probably will not be willing to work for nothing. Whoever runs the library will need to generate sufficient income to run it at the very least as a not for profit venture, very much like the organisation who originally proposed to run the library.

I can't see how sufficient income will be generated from renting out rooms presumably for local business people to hold meetings in, clubs etc to cover running costs.

This post was last modified: 02-03-2016 12:59 PM by samuelsen.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #25
02-03-2016 01:22 PM

As Michael said previously (if our bid's successful) we would need to employ at least one person & the main source of income would be by renting out the upstairs rooms as office/studio space.

We will be putting in our bid as a not for profit organisation, so everything we're doing is voluntary because we don't want to see the library close.

None of us know how any other organisations that may be putting in a bid for FH library will generate the running costs.

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samuelsen


Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #26
02-03-2016 02:20 PM

Does that mean that different organisations all competitively submit bids and the one considered most viable will then run the library?

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Mr_Numbers


Posts: 511
Joined: May 2012
Post: #27
02-03-2016 02:22 PM

And is that space rented out now? What sort of state is it in? What's there?

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #28
02-03-2016 05:40 PM

Samuelson, We don't know who else will be putting in a bid but the decision will be made on who takes on the library lease by the "Mayor & Cabinet"

Mr Numbers, the space is not rented out at the moment full time, it's only rented out occasionally for meetings.

We now have 36 volunteers so thank you to everyone who has offered so far Thumbsup

We need as many as possible so please get in contact if you can spare a couple of hour a week michael@fhsoc.com

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samuelsen


Posts: 291
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #29
02-03-2016 06:50 PM

I'd guess Eco Communities may also tender, have you thought about the consortium working in partnership on a joint bid? As they already run community libraries in the borough and have a "proven track record" in doing so, partnering with them will put you in a much stronger position to run the library in the way you would like and in a manner that will generate sufficient income.

How will the income be generated? Consider groups that may be interested in using the available meeting space? or out of hours events such as film nights?, for corporate events? Local interest group usage? Scouts & Guides meetups, After School events, specific school events, author book launches and signings? Setting up a Friends of Forest Hill Library Group if it does not already exist.

Has the consortium put together any type of business plan to determine how much income is actually needed to run the library as a not for profit organisation so all revenue is ploughed back into its operation?

Personally I think you'll need it to run as a profit generating enterprise to be able as an example to cover the maintenance and repair costs bearing in mind the age of the building, heating and lighting costs, (which the council should be able to give you an idea of the annual expenditure), a copy of the accounts for the library for say the last three years so you can see the current expenditures, Replacement and purchase of new books, maybe foreign language books and films, hiring out dvd's and blu ray films, mechanism to chase up overdue returns, all this will eat into any revenue that is generated.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #30
02-03-2016 08:02 PM

Hi Samuelson

Thanks for you're reply.

My guess is that "Eco Communities" will also bid for FH library, but I'm not so sure on their track record as book borrowing has gone down dramatically since they took over the running of some of the existing community libraries & we definitely don't want this to happen at FH library. See the thread below

http://www.se23.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=11921

Our community group are working in partnership with V22 (based next door to the library at Louise House) who have a great track record in maintaining listed buildings (7 in total at the moment).

We are doing most of what you have mentioned in your 2nd & 3rd paragraphs but please keep suggestions coming incase we have missed anything.

If our bid is successful we will be running it as a not for profit organisation. The income generated will cover all the running costs including building maintenance, utilities etc, but none of us that will make up the board of directors will take any kind of wage. We're all doing this voluntary with our focus purely being on what's best for the community & what the community wants for the future of our library.

We have the running costs of the library for the last 3 years & projected costs of maintaining the building over the next 10 years which is what we have been working with until we receive the bid package which we are still waiting on from Lewisham Council.

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Perryman


Posts: 810
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #31
03-03-2016 05:24 PM

Quote:
We're all doing this voluntary with our focus purely being on what's best for the community & what the community wants for the future of our library.


What services do the library currently provide and which ones do you intend to continue?
And which of these do the community want anyway and how do you know?

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #32
03-03-2016 06:47 PM

Hi Perryman

Lewisham Council will continue to provide the stock for the library so nothing will be reduced there except for the DVD's as they will be stopping providing these.

We intend to continue with all regular activities/sessions the library provides at the moment such as:

IT support sessions
Film clubs
Under 5's songs & stories
Chatterbox craft club
Summer reading challenge etc

I've been sent a list of Schools that currently visit the library by Lewisham Council which I asked for. I've contacted the Schools asking them:

How often they visit the library & when
What they do at the library on School visits
Would they like to visit more often
What they would like to do if they visited more often & what they think would benefit the School kids

What they do at the moment at library visits would continue (if our bids successful).
The suggestions (we've had so far) of what they would like to do/would benefit the kids if they visited more often, we are able to provide.

If yourself or anyone else has any suggestions of what sessions/activities you would like to see happening at the library then please let us know & if we're able to we will.

Anyone is also more than welcome to pop in to me at anytime for a chat about any ideas they have for the library.

Also feel free to post on here or get in contact if you would like to run/organise an activity/session at the library (if our bids successful).

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robbrockley


Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #33
03-03-2016 09:22 PM

Random ideas for the library - some of which may already happen, so apologies.

- organise the books in a different way - more like a good bookshop - in genre, with strong, regularly changing recommendations with handwritten notes from the staff
- get the maximum number of new books that the budget will possibly stretch to - new book are the life blood
- clear away all clutter - the sort of junk that gathers around entrances - leaflets, papers, handouts, old magazines, posters etc - in other words make it look attractive to want to go into
- make it possible to reserve books on line or by email without having to go in to do so ie make it accessible to all
- must have dvds/blu ray/cds and other forms of digital content
- have discussion forums re books/authors IN the library - not tucked away in a separate room
- get local authors to do book signings/readings/workshops in the upstairs room - charge for these
- could local choirs or music groups use the upstairs room?
- encourage book groups - maybe a general one and several based around genre perhaps?
- get all sorts of groups in to use the room with reasonable charges - Forest Hill Society meetings/local action groups/user groups/political meetings/hustings/meet the councillors/meet the MPs/ meet the town planners/ maybe book sales (there are companies who run these at workplaces)/creative writing classes/poetry reading or writing groups
- can some of upstairs room be a special members room as per Tate - pay an extra charge to have a nicer more comfortable place to sit that is quieter, (with maybe a coffee available) - this may be impossible. I would consider making this a child free zone.
- stuff for kids - character days/theme days/activities specifically linked to certain books/ kids creative writing classes/ quizzes/competitions
- not sure what but make full use of the IT kit - and keep it up to date
- cinema club - always with links to books/authors
- strong links/exhibits/activities to all external book events ie Booker prize/Costa prize/Goldsmith prize/Richard and Judy book club/ World Book Night/World Book Day; could we do book sales of books on these lists as well as having them available to lend?

Overall make it friendly, non stuffy, open, happy, welcoming, lively, maybe even loud!

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #34
03-03-2016 10:36 PM

Robbrockley, a lot of these we have covered but not all and not necessarily in the way you suggest.

Thank you so so much for your post, this is exactly the response we need from locals.

I'm not the best & certainly not the one dealing with anything related to IT in our group. Could you send me these suggestions via email so I can forward it on to our whole group.

Only myself & Michael post on here.

sugarmountain.info@gmail.com or Michael on michael@fhsoc.com

We can then see what is achievable. Also happy to Cc you in the email I send so you can report back or just reply.

I must stress I never wanted our library to become a community library. Myself & Michael fought to keep it run by Lewisham Council. But now the decision has been made we need to try and do the best we can.

Also feel free to pop in for a chat anytime.

I know I'm quite outspoken so not everyone's cup of tea, but please don't let this affect the future of our library.

We now have 40 volunteers Thumbsup

Keep them coming Forest Hill!

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Anotherjohn


Posts: 347
Joined: May 2005
Post: #35
04-03-2016 08:26 AM

Great post robbrockley!

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Mr_Numbers


Posts: 511
Joined: May 2012
Post: #36
04-03-2016 12:23 PM

When does a decision get made about this? I saw earlier that the handover is supposed to happen in August - but presumably Lewisham decides what to do long before then to give the winning bidder time to get organised? Just wondering!

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #37
04-03-2016 12:35 PM

Mr numbers, the handover is still due to be August but we're still waiting on the bid package which should also tell us when bids have to be submitted by.

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Mr_Numbers


Posts: 511
Joined: May 2012
Post: #38
04-03-2016 12:49 PM

Thanks, P1971!

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Perryman


Posts: 810
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #39
04-03-2016 05:29 PM

Yes, thanks for the details P1971

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #40
04-03-2016 10:47 PM

Hi Mr Numbers & Perryman

No worries, we want as much local input as possible. So please keep all suggestions coming & all offers of volunteering.

There is 5 of us working on different parts of our bid and we will be ready to go last minute if we need too. We still don't have the bid package yet but are good to go if we have to do it last minute.

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