Organisations confirmed up as preferred partners for Barnet’s Partnership libraries
Barnet Council is pleased to announce it has selected three preferred partners to run its four new partnership libraries. The partnership libraries, which will be set up by the groups in close collaboration with the council, will launch across the borough from 1 April 2017.
Following an open procurement process, Kisharon, in partnership with Mencap, is set to operate Childs Hill Library, NW7 Hub will operate Mill Hill Library and Inclusion Barnet will operate both East Barnet and South Friern libraries. These four libraries were identified to be supported in a partnership with voluntary or local community organisations as part of the strategy to maintain all 14 libraries in the borough whilst significantly reducing costs.
Under a 10 year agreement, the council will lease the library premises to the partners and provide equipment and book stock with a small grant for running costs. In return, the partner organisations will manage and develop the service, mainly by engaging with volunteers, initially for a minimum of 15 opening hours per week but with a view to longer hours and additional services over time. The concept of community-led or managed libraries is well established with over 300 community-run libraries already operating across the UK.
Barnet Council will work with the partners to further develop their business plans and make sure they are fully equipped to operate the library services in time for their launch in April 2017.
Kisharon, Mencap and Inclusion Barnet all have significant experience in the voluntary sector, and will bring valuable insights to the delivery of the borough’s library service. NW7 Hub is a recently incorporated charity that has significant reach and commitment from the local Mill Hill community.
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of the Children, Education and Libraries Committee, said:
“I have been really impressed with the quality of the organisations that came forward to run our partnership libraries. Community-run libraries are already proving their worth across the country and will form a vital part of our strategy to keep all 14 of our libraries open. We look forward to developing plans with each of them as we move forward.”
Rob Blackstone, Director of Operations at Kisharon, said: “We are delighted that Kisharon and Barnet Mencap will be working together to maintain Childs Hill Library for the benefit of the local community. It’s a fantastic chance to run and develop a new kind of social enterprise that will provide an excellent library service and an educational resource, while creating jobs and volunteering opportunities. Both charities are greatly looking forward to getting the scheme up and running.”
Chris Wong, a trustee of NW7 Hub, said:
“As a local group we are delighted to have been chosen as the preferred partner for Mill Hill Library. We look forward to delivering a valued service to our community and alongside it developing a range of additional activities which will enhance life in Mill Hill for all age groups. Working with local people will be key to our success and meeting supporters in the new year will help launch our exciting vision for the NW7 Hub Library.”
CEO of Inclusion Barnet, said: “Inclusion Barnet is delighted to have this opportunity. We'll be looking to create an inclusive service which reflects the needs of the local communities.
"We have extensive experience of delivering services in Barnet, and will be using this to create our offer for South Friern and East Barnet libraries.”