On Tuesday night Wandsworth’s Mayor, Jane Cooper, joined members of the local community, the Friends of York Gardens Library, councillors, volunteers and others to formally reopen York Gardens Library and Community Centre. Councillor Jonathan Cook, who is responsible for libraries in Wandsworth, spoke about the fact that libraries around the country are facing challenges and change and that the model being used at York Gardens is a new way of doing things that may be an example for others to follow to enable services to continue to operate in the face of significant budget cuts.
Sonia Francis-Mills, the Chair of the Friends of York Gardens Library, thanked those who had been involved in setting up the new structure for running the library which means that it is still open, when otherwise it would have closed earlier in the year. But she also noted the continued disappointment that it was this particular library, of the 11 neighbourhood libraries across Wandsworth, that had been marked out for treatment in this way and that there are still major challenges ahead in ensuring that the library can remain open, especially recruiting volunteers, raising awareness and generating enough income to cover the shortfall left by cuts to the council’s budget.
The library was open for business from Tuesday and it was great to see it packed full of people, particularly teenagers reading and doing their homework. The layout has been changed a little to allow for an additional room that people can hire for functions, training sessions or classes. The children’s library and IT suite remain and the library also continues to have a small selection of books for adults.
What is a Direct Services Organisation? York Gardens has been set up as a Direct Services Organisation and we’ve been trying to work out what it means over the past few months. Here’s how it has been defined: As a Direct Services Organisation, YGLCC operates as an ‘arms length’ part of Wandsworth Council. The DSO is still accountable to the Council for approval of its activities and the setting of its targets, fees and charges. The Council still provides the revenue budget for which officers are responsible and accountable. The budget – income and expenditure – is ringfenced to the DSO and is not used to sustain other Council budgets or activities.
We have added a page to this website, which you can get to from the link ‘On Offer at YLGCC’ at the top right of this page, which has details about the library opening times and room hire. If you want any more information at all please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
York Gardens Library and Community Centre will be hosting a reopening event on Tuesday 1st November from 6pm to 8pm. The Mayor of Wandsworth will be joining us to formally reopen the library, which was due to close over the summer. Fortunately, the community campaign to save the library means that the doors of the library will once again be open to readers and the community rooms will be available to hire at new reduced rates.
The library is now formally a Direct Service Organisation and has been called by others a ‘Big Society’ library, meaning that the council will be passing responsibility for some of the activities that happen at York Gardens to a community group called The Friends of York Gardens Library.
The Friends group are working to ensure that the centre continues to serve the local community. A number of exciting new activities for local children and young people will be run in the community rooms from November onwards, including drama and tae kwan do. We hope to add more soon, so if you have ideas for what would be popular, let us know by emailing email@example.com You can also hire out the rooms for your own events – parties, meetings, weddings etc.
Come along and join us on the 1st to celebrate the fact that the library is open and find out more about what York Gardens Library & Community Centre has to offer you.
We’ve just confirmed the reopening date for York Gardens Library and Community Centre as the 1st November. There’ll be a small event that evening to mark it’s reopening and any supporters of the library will be welcome to come along. Most importantly, from then on we hope that many people in the community will continue to support us by coming in to borrow books, use the community rooms, join in activities and sign up as volunteers.
If you’re interested in volunteering you can contact us now: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to book a room to hire, you can call Hilary on 020 8871 8848. There are several rooms to hire: a 4 person interview room, three rooms with capacity of 50, and the large community hall (capacity up to 200) which has a kitchen facility. Charges have been revised and reduced to make them more affordable.
The library itself will continue to have activities running for children and adults and we have plans for some home-grown community activities, to meet the needs of local people. We currently have a questionnaire which you can fill out to tell us about the sorts of activities you’d like to see at York Gardens. If you would like to know more and provide feedback, email us at email@example.com or contact us via Twitter @saveyglibrary
See you in November!
From the 26th September, York Gardens Library, will take a short break – closing temporarily for some alterations and redecoration. These changes are required to enable the library to remain open. It will reopen at the start of November.
When it reopens the ibrary will begin to officially operate as the ‘Big Society’ library. The Friends of York Gardens Library, a community group formed after the library was saved from closure, will take over a lot of the decision making and become accountable for the library making sufficient income to allow it to remain open with reduced funding.
When the library reopens in November, it will continue to be a great local children’s library and provide a few computers for community use. The homework club, after-school activities and baby-rhyme time will remain. We are also hoping to offer tutoring to GCSE students in maths and English. The community hall and upstairs rooms are available to be hired out by community groups: for parties, exhibitions, classes, meetings. For more information on room hire availability and charges you can contact the Library Service Development Manager Hilary Manning (who also works alongside the Friends group) on 020 8871 8848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED
We are still recruiting volunteers to fill a number of different roles at the library. If you’re interested in gaining experience, learning some new skills and helping your local community, please contact Hilary Manning or email email@example.com,
Opening times from 1 November 2011
Since our last post, the Friends of York Gardens Library have been working on what happens next for the library and community centre. We are still working on answers to questions about the community hall, the final layout of the library and the activities that will be run. What we now know for sure if that we need to find plenty of volunteers to help us to keep York Gardens Library running for the community. Do you think you could help?
Volunteers are needed now and there are jobs that you can be helping with today. And we’ll need more as this project really starts to get going later in the year.
What kind of volunteers does the library need?
Anyone with an interest in getting involved, working as part of a team and learning some new skills would be a great volunteer for the library. These are the kinds of things we will need volunteers to do:
- Assisting customers to find what they need
- Running fun activities for children
- Promoting the library and finding new sources of invomce
- Teaching people how to use computers
- Helping children and adults with reading
- Staffing the reception desk and helping with hall hire
We’re looking for volunteers who can commit up to 4 hours per week, but there’s flexibility in when those hours are, depending on the specific role.
What will you get out of it? Well, as well as being part of a really important community project, volunteering at the library could help you to learn new skills that will be useful to you in other areas of your life and work. You’ll meet people from the local area and have the opportunity to work with a wide range of people. You’ll be trained to do the jobs that you’re asked to do as a volunteer and of course you’ll get practical hands on experience and personal development – all of which could help you if you’re trying to get into/back into other work. No qualifications are required.
If you think you might be interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Make sure that your email includes your name and contact details, when you’d be available to volunteer and what particular types of activities you’d be interested in helping with. We will post role descriptions of specific volunteering opportunities that are available soon.
Since November 2010, people who live near to York Gardens Library have come together: first, to appeal against Wandsworth Council’s proposals to close this really valuable community library and meeting space; and now to keep the library going.
After several months of campaigning during the official consultation period, in March the Community had a major success when the Council voted to support an alternative way of saving money. The library is to become a ‘Big Society’ pilot project, meaning that a community group – the Friends of York Gardens Library – will take over much of the decision making and running of the library. There will be a reduced number of staff and the layout within the building will change considerably. This will mean that the library itself will be quite a lot smaller than it has been and the community hall will also be smaller (the exact size is still being debated). The Friends of York Gardens Library (“The Friends”) need to find volunteers to help to run the library and find other ways for the library to make an income to ensure that it can continue to survive in the long term.
It will be a major challenge to keep the library going. However, with the support of the local community we believe that it will be possible.
But now we need more support than ever before. The Friends are a group of committed local people, none of whom have experience of running a library. However, the group does have a wide variety of other skills and a lot of enthusiasm for the project.
The project is so new we’re not sure yet what sorts of volunteers we need, for how long, or to do what. But if you would be interested in getting involved at any point in the future or would just like to show your support please subscribe to this blog and send us an email to: email@example.com
We’ll only contact you with information about volunteering and other opportunities about the library.
Going forward the blog will be maintained by The Friends. We will use this site to tell you about what The Friends are doing, what we have planned and how you can help.
Most importantly, please keep on using the library!
The council committee that runs Wandsworth’s libraries has voted to keep York Gardens Library open after an evening of deputations from local residents.
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