I hope everyone is safe and well. Today we share re-opening plans in some CMLs, we also have a call for Volunteers and finally an update on the virtual Learning and Support Sessions.

Re-opening – a picture of services in some CMLs

Some CMLs are starting re-open and we want to share with you a picture of the services that are being provided by a few. Email us at info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org to share your re-opening plans/learning since you re-opened your doors.


Burley in Wharfedale Community Managed Library reopened on Tuesday 21 July and will be open for order and collect/returns/home delivery service only. There will be no access to the main building of the library for browsing or computer use. There will be a single pick-up/returns point in the foyer. Opening hours now reduced from what they had prior to Covid-19, they are:- Tuesdays 2 pm to 5 pm; Fridays 2 pm to 5 pm; Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm. Check out their Facebook for more information: Burley in Wharfedale CML Facebook

Harbury Village Library

Harbury Village Community Library managed to reopen its library w/c 13th July with a very diminished offer. Warwickshire County Libraries have only opened 4 of the main libraries so far, and only for a click and collect service. At Harbury we have moved large quantities of books so that we now have a single aisle containing our own collection books (purchased or donated) to which we are allowing access one person (or family group) at a time. The fact we work in the original Victorian village school has made reconfiguration quite a challenge.

We continue to operate our Home Delivery, Click and Collect and book takeaway services and hope to provide Ready Read packs to support the Summer Reading Challenge. As Hank Williams used to say, “If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise”, we’ll be able to provide access to one of our Public Access Computers this week. The library cafe is now offering takeaway coffee and cakes from the kitchen door twice a week!

Garden Suburb Community Library – Hampstead London continues to run its really successful click and collect service. As the building is really too small to be able to manage social distancing easily., they are looking to re-open in October at the earliest.

Courteous and respectful

Friends of Jesmond Library – Newcastle will re-open in two stages on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for two hours each day, 2-4pm at first. From August 4, only the current click and collect service and the People’s Network computers will be available with computer use limited to 50 minute sessions. From August 18 book loans and returns will also be available as well as click and collect which will continue for users who prefer it. We will be asking users to wear face coverings in the library and numbers entering will be restricted.

The Archibald Corbett Community Library – Catford London:

Phase 1 – Monday 6th July: Digital offer continues. Click and collect service, Lucky dip pre-selected bundles, Crate at the door to collect returned books. Set up table within foyer area so people only just step inside the building, 1 person at a time to complete their transaction. Door marshal to control access. 2-3 volunteers per shift – plus at least 1 manager to collate books prior to collection. Input discharges on system. Customers to queue outside with 2m markings. Use hand sanitiser on arrival at door Customer to read aloud card number. No exchange of books, cards, anything

Phase 2 – Monday 3rd August: Continue to offer click & collect and Lucky Dip. Add PC Use, Min. 30 mins to 2 hour max. slots, Quick browsing of limited selection – in Dome area only. See below for the opening times:

  • Monday          11:00 to 12:00                      over 70s, people with disabilities
  • Monday          14:00 to 16:00                      all
  • Tues or Thur 11:00 to 12:00                      over 70’s, people with disabilities
  • Thurs              14:00-16:00                          all

A call for volunteers

A number of members have expressed concern that their re-opening plans for a full service may be affected because many of their volunteers are over 70, having to self-isolate or are shielding and may not come back. The Network has linked up with VCS Emergency Partnership to discuss the possibility of VCS providing volunteers to Community Managed Libraries around the country to help them move from a restricted service to providing a full service with regular opening hours.

VSE has asked us to provide a snapshot of numbers, areas and timescale for where there could be a need for them to assess what they might be able to provide.

If your library looks like it will need to recruit new volunteers please email us at info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org latest by Monday 10 August with the name and address of your library, the number of volunteers you might need, how many hours a week they will be needed and when you would want them to start by month.


A massive thanks to members who joined the Learning and Support Sessions between April and July making it really successful. From some of the feedback shared by colleagues most people valued the peer advice and support during these difficult times; for a few it was a lifeline, others felt informed and took away some ideas/information from Libraries Connected, DCMS and Arts Council to inform recovery plans and activities.

I am particularly grateful for your ideas and suggestions for how to improve future sessions.  We are now taking a summer break, resuming in September, new dates to be announced soon.

Have an enjoyable Summer Break and Stay Safe.