Community group now running local library

A local community group is now managing Talke Library

DAY-T0-DAY management of a Staffordshire library has been successfully transferred to a local community group.

Kidsgrove Care Solutions is taking on the daily management and delivery of services at Talke library.

Under the agreement the locally based Community Interest Company, which helps adults and young people with disabilities in Staffordshire and Cheshire, will deliver the statutory library service and have access to the county’s stock and IT network, with support from officers, while the county council remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.

Leek Rural county councillor Gill Heath, cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “This was an impressive bid by Kidsgrove Care Solutions, full of energy and ideas and based on the experience of successfully running a business which makes a real the community.

As well as running the library, the directors Wendy Lear and Mick Lunt have plenty of ideas to keep it at the heart of the neighbourhood and I look forward to seeing their progress.”

Kidsgrove Care Solutions is based in Talke Pits and employs 25 staff, plus volunteers, to offer a range of services for people with learning disabilities, including respite support, day provision and personal assistant support.

Director Wendy Lear said: “We want to build strong relationships with current borrowers, involving them in decision making, and increase the number of people using this valuable service.

“Ideas we’re already considering include opportunities for a charity shop, group sessions and activities, and educational services.”

As well as 7,500 books, the Kingsley Road library, adjoining Springhead Primary School, currently offers free wi-fi and access to PCs, with printing and photocopying facilities available, as well as meeting rooms.

Later this year the number of community managed libraries in Staffordshire will have risen to 27, with contracts recently offered to a parish council, local community group, business enterprise organisation and two Rotary Clubs to take on Cheadle, Cheslyn Hay, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge.

The first libraries were transferred to community management in 2015 and Coun Heath said: “There are a wide range of groups and organisations bringing their expertise to bear, but one thing they have in common is the way they are responding to local needs and ideas to make a difference in their communities.”