Following on from our recent communication about plans to become self sustaining, the Network  with support from Independent Mind and 3rd Sector Mission Control is developing a business plan and a strong strategy for the future.

We have been talking to stakeholders and shadow board members and have had a great response to the survey so far. 56 people have completed it, but there is still time to have your say. We have extended the survey until 18th July. If you’d like to tell us what you value about the network and what it should focus on in future please follow this link:

Findings so far

So far we have heard:

  • Managing a community library can be lonely and isolating. Knowing that there is someone else out there who has had the same experience as you can be comforting, supporting and give you the strength to keep going when things get tough.
  • It is hard to make a CML sustainable, and keep it sustainable. Providing support and advice to support sustainability could ensure more CMLs are able to continue serving their communities and ensure the long-term future of library services in places that would not otherwise have a local service
  • CMLs are very diverse with lots of different models and needs. There is no one-size fits all answer to supporting CMLs, but there are some common issues. The Network needs to embrace the different sides of CMLs – both the library function and the community business aspect, in all the different ways they develop across the country.
  • CMLs would like more opportunities to network with each other and offer/receive peer support. A priority for the network should be developing an online peer to peer platform for different CMLs to talk to each other and offer support.

Does this match what you think? Contact or complete our survey to let us know your thoughts.

Next steps:

We are having a strategy workshop on 18th July in Upper Norwood Library Hub, 39 – 41 Westow Hill, London SE19 1TJ so that CMLs have a say in setting the future direction of the network. You can book a place at the workshop here:  We hope to see you at the workshop.

Following on from this we will be researching possible business models and putting together a business plan in August and September 2019.