We hope you are all well and safe.  There is a lot of information contained in this communication and we hope you find it useful.


The Network is involved regularly in contributing information at the strategic level to the DCMS. This means that issues from the field are therefore critically important to pass on quickly in this rapidly evolving situation.  With this in mind, we would like to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your CML and would be very grateful if you could spend 5-7 minutes completing a very short SURVEY by 9 April 2020. Results from the SURVEY  will be shared on this site and passed on as quickly to relevant colleagues.

Please select SURVEY to complete. Thanking you all in advance.

CMLs – Virtual Support and Learning during COVID-19

We have organised two virtual/online support and learning together sessions on

The session will be open to a maximum of 12 people at a time and led by the Chair of the CML National Peer Network, David Smith.  To book, simply click on the date you wish to attend the virtual session and it will take you straight to our Eventbrite booking page. You can then register to join the event. If you experience any difficulties or want further information please email info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org

Further sessions will be planned in May 2020 depending on feedback and learning we capture from the survey and the two online sessions.

Purpose of the Virtual Sessions:

  • To support each other during these unprecedented times and capture your feedback
  • Share ideas, experiences, learning including existing and planned activities during the pandemic
  • Keep abreast with local and national developments including opportunities open to CMLs

The virtual support sessions will be organised through Zoom. Once you register, we will send you a confirmation email plus a short guide explaining how to join the Virtual Support Session on Zoom.


Arts Council

The Arts Council has put together an Emergency Response Package made up of: £20 million available to individuals, £50 million to organisations outside of their National Portfolio and £90 million to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).  Please select this link to find out more: ARTS COUNCIL EMERGENCY RESPONSE PACKAGE

Good Finance

Good Finance have also put together a COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities and Social Enterprises. The site includes useful resources, funding and investment guides, support programmes and much more, available HERE

Power to Change

You can also find out How Power to Change is supporting the community business sector in response to COVID-19 HERE. The site also includes a link to the support packages announced by government.

On 1st April 2020, Power To Change and its delivery partners hosted a Webinar on Managing your community business during the Covid-19 crisis, further information including the presentation slides can be found HERE.


You may wish to check out Locality’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Support hub for COVID-19 funding and support opportunities. For those CMLs who are Locality members, the site includes support available to members.


There is guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit NCVO site for further information


We have been collating information and resources we hope will be useful for you, your organisation and communities during these unprecedented times:

  • GIFT AID: If you are concerned GIFT Aid on cancelled tickets

For CMLs who run as theatres or cultural venues who have queries around claiming Gift Aid when patrons agree to donate to the venue the value of their tickets for an event cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the response here.


The following are a few activities organised by some CMLs/organisations during the lockdown period.  You can find out more by clicking the links provided. If you are doing something interesting or have a new idea to share with everyone, then please email info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org

  • Activities for children, families and everyone in the community

We came across this link to activities you can enjoy as a family, with friends and users during the lockdown: Lockdown links.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf.pdf

  • Sing Song Time at Garden Suburb Community Library, Hampstead

Virginia from the Garden Suburb Community Library in Hampstead Garden, North London has run an amazingly successful Sing Song Time on Thursdays, for a number of years.  For many children confined to their homes for the foreseeable future Virginia recorded a special Sing Song Time just for you ! You can access it here: https://vimeo.com/401404135/ac29defe4d.

Virginia would also love to receive feedback either by email mail@gardensuburblibrary.org.uk or on through Facebook @gardensuburbcommunitylibrary or Twitter @HGScLibrary

  •  Daily live streams at the Upper Norwood Library Hub:  Upper Norwood Library Hub in London runs volunteer led daily live streams: from yoga, to singing classes, talk shows to bed-time stories. You can join/access by selecting this link: DAILY LIVE STREAMS FROM UNLH

Digital Inclusion sessions – Virtual Offer from Clearcommunityweb and Upper Norwood Library Hub

The library hub also offers virtual digital sessions each week for Seniors, both 1-1 and group sessions. Sessions include

  • Help to set up video chat software to stay in contact with family, friends, neighbours during this time. (Skype/ Facetime/ WhatsApp)
  • Help to set up online shopping account and making that first purchase
  • Critical form filling and applications: Council, Rent, Health Service



Harbury Community Library

Runs online Classic Book Group and relaunch of online Spanish and French lessons, online publication of cake recipes from list of favourite homemade cakes served in the library cafe, online publication of art works by local artists which are currently hanging in the unvisited library, and finally working with Parish Council to start home delivery service for library books to most vulnerable people in our community who already being supported by PC volunteers.

Jesmond Library

The library is setting up a collection and a home delivery service to allow people to have access to books/resources. The service will be publicised on their website: http://jesmondlibrary.org/; facebook page and through posters at strategic sites in Jesmond. They are developing procedures for new memberships, home deliveries and collection of books.

Repair Cafe

Collaboration between library and Harbury Energy Initiative. http://www.harburyenergy.co.uk/).

Seed Share Initiative

A collaboration between community library and primary school gardening club (http://www.harburyvillagelibrary.org.uk/harbury-seed-share). This has been incredibly successful.

Thank you for your time and we will stay connected.