Update: Library Strategy Review

Implications for Friends of Church Stretton Library 

How does this review affect us?

We have been reassured by Shropshire Library Services that the strategy review announced earlier this month will not change the arrangements proposed back in January whereby:

  • Shropshire Library services continues to manage Church Stretton Library library in its current building
  • Church Stretton Town Council and Friends of Church Stretton library provide financial support to help towards running costs.

The Town Council and Shropshire Library services are still in discussion about how the proposed future partnership arrangement will work between Shropshire Library Services and the Town Council, and what on-going financial contribution from the Town Council is realistic and equitable, with the support of the Friends of Church Stretton Library.

We would still encourage people to  respond to this survey and let  Shropshire Council know how much you appreciate the library service in Church Stretton by going to

  https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/library-strategy-engagement-and-consultation/

Money raised so far

Since April 2019 Friends of Church Stretton Library has raised approx. £5,000 through donations and fund-raising events.

All money collected so far by Friends of Church Stretton Library is being be used to:  

  • Purchase equipment to improve the library in Church Stretton
  • Support events taking place in the library e.g. forthcoming children’s puppet event
  • Build up our reserve, which will help us cover possible shortfalls in fund raising in future years.

We expect to be making financial contributions to help with running costs of the library from April next year.

Concert: Wednesday 30th October, United Reform Church , 7pm

Join us for a convivial and relaxing evening of music-making in support of our wonderful Library.

From hunting horn pieces to Simon and Garfunkel arrangements French Horn ConneXion will perform a varied programme of music to suit all tastes.

Also featuring in this concert, and regaling us with his witty renditions of comic popular songs, is Mr Philip Harratt.

Tickets are £10.00 which includes cheese and wine served in the interval

New Shropshire Council Library Consultation

Consultation from 30th September – November 8th 2019

Shropshire Council are running a consultation to help them develop a new library strategy. We would encourage people to respond to this survey, so Shropshire Council continue to hear how much the library service in Church Stretton is valued.

You can find the survey at https://shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/library-strategy-engagement-and-consultation/

Why a New Strategy?

We are not surprised Shropshire Council is developing a new strategy so soon after the previous one, approved in Jan 2018. In this earlier strategy, tier 2 libraries such as Church Stretton were meant to be:

  • Hosted and managed by local community organisations within contract arrangements with Shropshire Council
  • Receive a maximum of five year time limited tapered revenue support from Shropshire Council and be totally funded by the local community by the end of 2022/23

In Jan 2018 a procurement exercise was carried out where Shropshire Council invited local community organisations to bid to run the library in Church Stretton. None of the bids put forward were found to be viable.

In January 2019, Shropshire Library services proposed a different approach where they continued to manage the library in Church Stretton, with financial support from both the Town Council and Friends of Church Stretton Library. We welcomed this approach believing it to be a much more practical and viable approach to outsourcing. 

Funding Issues

Church Stretton Library Support Group and the Town Council both challenged the unfairness of the 2018 strategy in which libraries in the largest (Tier 1) towns would continue to be funded from the county council tax.  Smaller towns such as Church Stretton would be expected to pay for their Tier 2 Libraries from an additional local council tax, and would face potential reductions in staffing and opening hours. In addition, these smaller towns also faced the prospect of having to take on the funding of leisure services, youth services, street lighting and other services. There would also be no contribution from the many surrounding parishes, whose residents also use Tier 2 libraries. 

We will be making our own more detailed response to Shropshire Council, and making the strongest representation that the new Library Strategy will address these issues in a way which is much fairer for towns such as Church Stretton.

Your response will help

We would encourage individuals to respond to this survey, before the dead-line of November 8th so that Shropshire Council understand how local residents value not only the current opening hours but also the range of services provided by the library

The survey can be found online at:

https://shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/library-strategy-engagement-and-consultation/

Table of Tier 1, 2 and 3 libraries

Tier 1 Libraries: Shrewsbury, Lantern, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Ludlow, Bridgnorth

Tier 2 Libraries: Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Bishop’s Castle, Ellesmere, Wem, Pontesbury and Albrighton

Tier 3 Libraries : Brosely, Shifnal, Highley, Craven Arms, Much Wenlock, Gobowen, Bayston Hill

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Help us find Church Strettons favourite poem

We hope you are enjoying reading the poems displayed in shop windows around town to mark National Poetry Day.

How many have you spotted? Which is your favourite?

Here is a list of traders’ favourite poems , including why they chose them.

Do come along to the library before October 3rd to vote on your favourite poem.

Also we have three poetry events in the next few weeks:

September 24 th : Poetry Workshop with Lucy Aphramor

October 3rd : Home Truths – poetry workshop with Jean Atkin 

October 9th- : Close to Paradise – Phil Bowen, poet and playwright reads extracts from Wodehouse and Betjeman relating to Shropshire.

More details can be found on our events page

Public Launch

Please join us to celebrate our launch day this Thursday at 3pm in the library. We are delighted that Bob Welch the mayor will be joining us.

Please come along to show your support. You will also have the opportunity to put any questions you might have about our work to members of the committee.

Soft drinks and nibbles will be served.

Summer Activities in the library

There is lots going on  this summer including

Children’s Summer Reading Challengemore details

Children’s Summer reading challenge eventsmore details

Author Events more details

and for adults there is the  Adult Summer Reading Challenge

Adults can sign up from 13th July and read 4 books, fill in their comments on the form and hand it in when it’s complete to claim 4 free requests and the chance to win a Tablet or smaller prizes of Book Tokens.

June Newsletter now available

Printed copies of the newsletter are available in the library giving information about Friends of Church Stretton Library, the current funding situation and events we have planned for June to September.

You can also download the newsletter here

If you know of someone without internet access who might be interested in reading this, please take a printed copy from the library to give to them.