Thursday, 13 October 2011

Molesey Library Saved! New Friends Organisation Proposed.

Further to our earlier news that Surrey Country Council has changed its mind regarding the future of Molesey Library we can now confirm that the Cabinet Meeting of 27th September approved the proposal to reincorporate Molesey in the county’s core library network.

The proposal which was based on the scale of the Molesey operation (being much larger than the other libraries threatened with closure) and new work which took into account the overall local needs of the area was carried without controversy.

However, the plans for other libraries affected remain in place and this attracted significant criticism at the meeting. The result was that Councillors for some of the other affected areas ‘called in’ the decision for reconsideration at a council meeting that must take place by 1st November. This looks very unlikely to affect Molesey which is already deploying permanent staff rotas once again. Molesey does look almost certain to be run by the County as before but as we cannot predict exactly the outcome of the review meeting it was decided at a meeting of the Molesey Community Library Steering Group on October 4th to keep the organisation in place in its present form for the time being.

An important new development is that in the light of the decision of 27th September it was decided to re-launch the Community Library Group as a Friends of Molesey Library organisation, assuming we are not impacted by any reconsideration of the earlier decision. Rose Wilson, Head of Surrey Libraries attended this meeting and strongly welcomed the proposal. She spoke about the value of creating a ‘buzz’ around the library and ideas began to be discussed as to exactly how such a body would work. It is anticipated that at some areas of activity will include outreach work involving schools and other community groups, events linked to the library and input to the facilities and services provided. It was also felt that a strong and active Friends organisation will be critical in developing the profile of the library and avoiding future threats. The Community Library Steering Group was unanimous in backing the proposal and firmer plans will be put in place as soon as it is clear that Molesey is not impacted by the review meeting. We thank all volunteers who have come forward thus far and now ask them to ‘stand by’ for involvement in the new organisation where it is clear that their input could be extremely valuable. We welcome any ideas for a new Friends organisation or offers of assistance in running such a body. These can be submitted at the Library or via the Community Library Group e-mail

Well done everyone!

Molesey Library Possible Reprieve!

In an unexpected development on 5th September Molesey Library Community Partnership Steering Group was informed by Rose Wilson, head of Surrey Libraries that a possible reprieve has been given to Molesey Library.

This is as a result of a three month consultation on and update to the Public Value Review of Surrey Libraries that originally identified 11 libraries including Molesey as candidates for closure or Community Partnership (CP) operation.

Now Molesey has been re-allocated to the core county managed network of libraries. The decision seems to have been driven by the fact that Molesey Library is significantly larger on almost all criteria than the other libraries in the affected group.

The number of active borrowers, for example is around 1000 higher than the next biggest library and twice as large as many of the others. However, the revised proposal has to be put before Surrey CC’s Cabinet on 27th September for approval so cannot yet be taken for granted.

The Steering Group of Molesey Library Community Partnership is delighted by this development but is not yet making any assumptions about what may happen on 27th September. Until then it will continue to develop the plan for possible community operation. In particular it is very keen to maintain the commitment of those who have already volunteered to help run a community-based service, in case this should actually be needed.

To date over 100 volunteers have made a formal commitment to help, clearly demonstrating the importance of a library to Molesey. The Steering Group will continue to provide information and updates via this website and to volunteers and will provide formal responses to Surrey’s original plan until the future of Molesey Library is assured. In the mean time it thanks all those who have made such a generous response to the call for help.

The new proposals to be put before Surrey CC Cabinet on the 27th September are as follows:

  • It is recommended that Molesey is run as part of the SCC managed network,

  • Library provision in Bagshot, Bramley, Byfleet, Ewell Court, Lingfield, New Haw, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Virginia Water, Warlingham is proposed to be delivered via Community Partnerships.

  • Library provision in Ash, Caterham Hill, Frimley Green, Hersham, Horsley, Knaphill, Lightwater, Shepperton & West Byfleet (not currently potential Community Partnerships or in the managed network) will be fully supported by SCC and no decision is taken by the Cabinet to run these as Community Partnerships until the pilot CP Libraries have been in existence for a full year, commencing 1st April 2012.

The revised plan specifically mentions the “strong community support that has been generated” for maintaining a library service in Molesey and suggests that this may be harnessed to “extend and add value to services”.