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Volunteers needed for Forest Hill Library
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marrakech


Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2016
Post: #41
06-03-2016 08:41 PM

I am interested to hear more about the Forest Hill library as my plans are to move in to area. Together with an up-date on the plans for the 'community library' plans on the volunteer duties, rota and timings (as a newcomer to South East London) would be great.

Thank you, Rose

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #42
06-03-2016 09:20 PM

Hi Rose

Please post on here or email us.

michael@fhsoc.com sugarmountain@gmail.com

We welcome all suggestions & input.

Thank you & welcome to FH x

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #43
08-03-2016 08:15 PM

The community spirit has been amazing!

We now have 43 volunteers so far Thumbsup

We need as many as possible due to the long hours FH library is open, so please get in contact if you can spare a couple of hours a week via Michael.

michael@fhsoc.com

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #44
09-03-2016 03:38 PM

The tender process now begins. All bids have to be submitted by 9th May 12 noon!

See here for more information on bids and important dates.

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/li...160304.pdf

I truly want the winning bid to be the best for our library & community so good luck to all that are bidding.

For our group all I can say is we're prepared to give this our best shot.

Please contact us if you are able to volunteer, we need as many as possible & we can't do this without you.

michael@fhsoc.com

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Cllr Paul Upex


Posts: 41
Joined: Jan 2014
Post: #45
09-03-2016 05:48 PM

Glad to see you have now received this and I do hope that we have wide interest in bidding from across the community. I will not be advocating any specific group during the bidding process. But I will work and support wholeheartedly what ever group is successful in order to continue to provide a great library and community facility for local residents.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #46
09-03-2016 06:30 PM

Thanks Paul, I appreciate you posting on this thread.

As Michael said previously if our bid is not successful we will pass on the details of the volunteers we have that are happy for us to do so.

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robbrockley


Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #47
10-03-2016 05:11 PM

Well good luck with this. The bid document looks demanding and I am sure there are many areas where your consortium will not be able to answer or will not have an answer that convinces ie all the financial questions, the capital reserves, etc. On a first read it would seem to me that this is directed towards companies/organisations already set up who are providing these sort of services and that they aren't looking of community groups to take over the library. If I were you, I would stop the work now but I know that is defeatist and others would take a different view. Good luck if you go ahead but I really think this contract will be going to a commercial outfit.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #48
11-03-2016 01:03 PM

Hi robbrockley

We have all this covered as we are working in partnership with V22 (based in Louise House).

Part of V22 is a not for profit organisation which is the part we are working with as the community. They are currently doing the works outside Louise House & the library and are also having work done inside the building to create a community space which will be part of their not for profit side of the organisation.

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samuelsen


Posts: 290
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #49
11-03-2016 05:43 PM

Some what harsh, but I believe when LBL is assessing the bids they will be looking for an organisation with a proven track record, that is financially viable, has a strong business plan that clearly shows how income will be generated to service the buildings needs and that covers all eventualities.

But then they could surprise everyone and bring a new player (the partnership) into the game to create some competition with the other community run libraries.

If it was me I'd be looking to set up a federation or something similar with the other local community libraries (if you win) as "the sum of the parts is greater than the whole" so you work as independent organisations, but help each other out.

I don't know how much knowledge/experience you have of FH library, how it runs,works, what doesn't work, what users like/dislike, want/need etc. The more you have of this information will help you in improving how it runs on a daily basis. Try thinking outside the box. Ultimately it is about what the users want, what they expect, how you can meet and exceed their expectations will "dictate" how successful the community library will be.

The requirements of the bid paperwork look detailed, the more evidence provided to substantiate what you are saying, including financials the better.

The last thing LBL will want to see is the library failing and its resulting closure, this would not look good reputationally on LBL.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #50
11-03-2016 06:57 PM

Not harsh at all Samuelsen.

V22 very much so have a great proven track record.

Which is why we (myself, Michael & ex local Cllr John Russell) asked them if they would like to work on a joint bid with us as a community, which they agreed to at our first meeting as we all felt the same about keeping our library a library. Our aim is to add to the service rather than reduce it.

V22 were the winning bid for Louise House, so they have experience in this kind of thing

The bid paperwork is very detailed, but this was what we were expecting so we have done most of the work already we just need to finalise everything & bring it all together as we've all been working on different areas but sharing all we've been doing with all so we all know what's been done.

We've been having meetings & working on our bid since the decision was made to make FH library a community library so we've been working on this for a while now.

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samuelsen


Posts: 290
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #51
11-03-2016 08:10 PM

Not convinced by the V22 website, cannot see any reference to involvement with libraries, but rather they look more of an arty outfit.

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robbrockley


Posts: 91
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #52
11-03-2016 08:32 PM

I do agree Samuelson and I would be worried P1971 - V22 don't look at all suitable as a partner to run a library. They are an Art organisation and one that is just finding it's feet with little track record. I don't think I would want them to run our library. They may be very well meaning and interested and want to 'save' the library (was it ever at risk?) but so are lots of people but it doesn't make them suitable to run something this large and complicated.I really do wish everyone well but I just don't see this going anywhere - there will just be too many areas on the bid assessment where this will score poorly.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #53
11-03-2016 08:48 PM

Hi Samuelsen

You seem to know quite a bit about this & Eco Communities, you could approach them & put in a joint bid with them yourself if you want too.

Remember we are doing this voluntary & possibly committing to it for the next 25 years (which we know will be no easy task) if our bids successful. We are doing this for the benefit of the whole community as we don't want to see our library closed or with reduced stock due to someone else possibly generating income taking up part of the library to do this & having to reduce the stock to achieve this.

I really hope the winning bid goes to whoever can maintain the library best for FH & the community regardless if it's us or not.

As I've said before myself & Michael (and John Russell, who doesn't post on here) fought to keep the library run by Lewisham Council, but now the decision has been made that it will become a community library rather than just ignoring this and do nothing about it we've decided to try and do the best we possibly can.

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samuelsen


Posts: 290
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #54
11-03-2016 10:20 PM

P1971, I do not know anything about running a library but I do know about running a successful micro/small business for about 6 years and dealing with the Public Sector. During that time I came across Eco computers as I knew them then, however I have had no direct involvement with them, then or now, so am absolutely independent. My earlier comments came from having had an opportunity to step back and put together some thoughts that may help you.

I applaud you for doing this on a voluntary basis, for the benefit of the whole community and that you may be committing to it for the next 25 years. I am not knocking you or the partnership you have developed to try and achieve this far from it. I agree with your aim of not wanting to see FH library closed or reduced,

Can I suggest while a not for profit organisation will plough all the income generated back into the library, the organisation that runs it will may wish to consider generating sufficient income to fund someone to manage it on a day to day basis, so someone is in charge and ultimately responsible for what happens in the library. I'd also suggest that the "volunteer librarians" will need sufficient knowledge and experience to do all the tasks required to help the library to be able to keep running and ticking over smoothly.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #55
12-03-2016 12:04 AM

Hi Samuelson

I'd like to meet up with you for a chat, name the date and time and I'm there. I can make most evenings 6.30-7.30pm. Will have my son with me though at this time. Or can do Sunday 4-5pm or Saturday 6-7pm

Thanks

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michael


Posts: 3,224
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #56
12-03-2016 12:55 AM

Six years ago, when four libraries became community libraries in Lewisham, no organisation other than the council had experience of running libraries. The fact that some organisations have taken this on and learned to run libraries shows that it is possible for different types of organisations to run libraries.

But from the start of the process of moving Forest Hill library to a community library, The Forest Hill Society, P1971 (and the majority of local residents who expressed a view) have had some major concerns about the degradation in levels of book borrowing and other services at some of the community libraries. We have also recognised that it is thanks to the hard work of the volunteers at these libraries that they have been able to continue to provide a vital service in the local communities.

It was never our intention of running a library or even bidding to do so. But the Forest Hill Society, local traders, and residents care about maintaining a good level of service at our library (with more books borrowed than all the existing community libraries in Lewisham combined), so we wanted to ensure that a good quality bid was put together and we continue to work on doing exactly that.

Personally I wish any other bidders well, I would love it if Lewisham found somebody even better to run the library (and work with the local community), and I could get on with other things. I just hope that whoever takes on running the library does a first class job - and it won't be easy in the third busiest library in the borough.

I also want to thank all the people who have volunteered time to help keep the library running (regardless of operator). Well in advance of switching to a volunteer model more than 40 people have already said that they are willing to give up time to help out.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #57
12-03-2016 07:21 PM

Hi Samuelsen

Thanks for popping in for a chat today, it's very much appreciated.

The community support has been amazing with this. As well as people offering to volunteer at the library, local residents are also offering to help in specific areas.

Thank you all so much Thumbsup

Please get in contact if you would like to volunteer via Michael

michael@fhsoc.com

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #58
14-03-2016 10:27 PM

I am so overwhelmed with the support from my fellow local traders on this I'm actually speechless! This doesn't happen often! Thank you all so so much for your support Xxx

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Red67


Posts: 141
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #59
15-03-2016 10:01 AM

"V22 don't look at all suitable as a partner to run a library. They are an Art organisation and one that is just finding it's feet with little track record"

Umm, i'm not sure what info you are looking at, but that just isn't true...they are a very well and widely respected arts organisation with a great track record spanning a decade, and running the sort of programme that they do - studio space, education, etc - is no mean feat.

I really don't see why they wouldn't be a great partner for this bid.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #60
15-03-2016 09:25 PM

Completely agree with you Red67 that V22 are a very well & widely respected arts organisation with a great track record spanning a decade & everything else you mentioned after, which is why we are submitting a joint bid with them.

Again thanks for all the community support everyone Thumbsup

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