Welcome to the website of…

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On this page you’ll find regular updates about our efforts to save Chagford Library from closure — as well as library news, book news, local literary events, and news from the national Library Campaign. The latest posts are below, with further pages of information listed in the column on the left.

You’re welcome to send in material for posting on this site if you live or work in the Chagford area. We’re happy to receive any library or book-related material: book recommendations, publication announcements, literary events, Book Group news, your thoughts about the library, etc.. Submissions from children are welcome too! Go here for the submission address.

Good news!

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We are delighted to tell you the good news that follows a very successful campaign here in Chagford and other communities across Devon:

No Devon libraries  are going to be closed!

In response to the groundswell of public  support for keeping small libraries open, staffed by professional Librarians, the Devon Library authorities have come up with another way of making the required ‘savings’.

Devon County Council has today published its report on revised proposals for the Library Service. The full report, which goes before the County Council’s Cabinet on 8th October for formal approval, is here and there is a Press Release here.

As it is all rather a lot to take in, Peter Sheilds has kindly summarised the report:

Devon Libraries have come up with a new way to save the £1.5m they need to save annually by 2016/17.

“Their original proposals included a target to save £400k (50%) off the budget for the 28 smaller libraries, of which Chagford is one, by getting them to move to local ‘community-led’ solutions, which would have relied on volunteers to replace paid staff in order to make the savings, or else risk closure. This was unpopular with the public countywide, so that plan has been abandoned. We appear to have won the day!

“Instead the County will transfer all Devon’s libraries, large and small, to a Charitable Trust or Mutual Society, from which the County Council will then commission the Library Service. No libraries will close and salaried librarians will be retained. Management and support staffing levels will be reduced over time. The model quoted is Suffolk, which in 2012 turned its libraries over to an Industrial Provident Society (still called ‘Suffolk Libraries’) from which Suffolk County Council now commissions the library service. That service is run by a salaried General Manager reporting to a management board made up of 8 representatives elected from the 40-odd Friends of Libraries groups around the County. See http://suffolklibraries.co.uk/about.

“In Devon, 10 libraries will be transferred to the new arrangements as a pilot starting in 2015. Once all the libraries have transferred, the move will save at least £400k in Business Rates paid for library premises, because charities can get exemption from business rates.They also envisage that these new organisational arrangements will save a further £500k through management and support efficiencies, wider opportunities for premises sharing, new sources of external income, etc.

“Their next step is to work up the detailed Business Case for the transfer, and to identify the 10 libraries to take part in the 2015 pilot.”

A reminder

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The next FoCL General Meeting is tonight!

When: Tuesday, 30 September, 7:15 for 7:30 start.
Where: The Courtyard Cafe, Chagford

See the Working Group Diary page for tonight’s agenda.

We’ve also got a lot to celebrate, as many things have occurred since our last meeting:

* We’ve raised the library’s profile and membership by running two highly enjoyable events (The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hollow Meadow) and by partipating in Chagford Carnival.

* We’ve raised money, facilitated new library memberships, and signed up many individuals and households as Friends of Chagford Library.

* We’ve built a website, put out two newsletters, and obtained an on-going library display space in the Post Office window.

* Most importantly of all: We sent the Council an extensive, well-researched response to the possibility of our library’s closure, with firm support from our Parish Council and our County Councillor, James McInnes.

To all who worked on any (or all!) of these things: Well done, everyone!

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Representing Friends of Chagford Library at Chagford Carnival in August.

Library campaign news!

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The BBC is reporting that plans to close more than half of Devon’s libraries have been shelved by the county council.

“The local authority had proposed cutting funding to 28 smaller libraries around the county to save £1.5m,” they say. “After a consultation, it said it was considering a new approach involving a pilot of 10 communities working with professionals to run the service. The buildings and staff in those areas would become part of new trusts, separate from the council. Details of which communities will be part of the pilot scheme will be revealed on Wednesday.”

This is interesting news indeed. We’re not entirely sure what all this will mean in practice, and how it will effect the Chagford and Moreton libraries specifically, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more. We’re now feeling cautiously hopeful as we wait for publication of the council’s full report.

You can read the full BBC article here.

There’s more information on the UNISON site here.

And further information on the Devon County Council site here.

(Please note that, due to this news, Unison’s plans for a anti-library-closure demonstration on Oct. 8th have been cancelled.)

More photos from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party:

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Mad Hatter Tea Party photos keep trickling in from the Chagford Library community. The photo above and the next five below were taken by Carol Amos, the last three were taken by Ray Hartle. Thank you, Carol and Ray!

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William Todd-Jones enthralls children with his ferret puppet.

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Mad hats are everywhere.

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Above, Jenny Gayton, Wendy, and Lucy Sheilds staff the ‘Friends of Chagford Library’ and ‘Ex Libras’ information tables.

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Above and below, the Dormouse makes friends.

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The Mad Hatter inspects the raffle cake,

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Above, the Queen of Hearts: Chagford’s beloved librarian, Erica Loram.

Below, Becky Doe and Howard Gayton fill the hall with music, while the Dormouse listens to a child’s secrets.

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You’ll find the rest of the Mad Hatter Tea Party pictures here (just follow the link and scroll down the page).

And if you’ve got any good pictures of Chagford Library events to share, please email them to: friendsofchagfordlibrary [at] gmail [dot] com.

Library Campaign News:

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10418430_842120509138916_918110750080236359_nThe Devon branch of UNISON has launched it’s ‘Save Devon Libraries’ campaign to fight cuts, closures and job losses across the county’s library service.

The campaign is in response to Devon County Council’s recent public consultation on its proposals for the future of the library service which aim to create 22 ‘Devon Centres’ at the county’s busiest libraries and 28 ‘community-led’ smaller libraries.

Steve Ryles, UNISON Devon County Branch Secretary, said: “We are concerned that these proposals will mean library closures, cuts in opening hours and paid staff replaced by volunteers.  This issue affects everyone – not just our members who stand to lose their jobs. Libraries are a vital public service, much-loved by both young and old alike.  Once our libraries are gone, they’re gone for good so we’re looking to our members, their family, friends and colleagues, the general public, and the numerous library campaign groups across Devon to sign our e-petition and join us at the 8 October lobby in Exeter.”

UNISON is Britain’s biggest trade union, with members in the public services and the essential utilities.

UPDATE: THE OCTOBER 8TH LOBBY HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED. Your can read why here.

A reminder for those of you in the FoCL Working Group:

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The next FoCL General Meeting is on Tuesday, 30 September, at the Courtyard Cafe, Chagford, 7:15 for 7:30 start.

The date was changed from Monday, 22 Sept. (in an email sent to everyone on 15 Aug.) , in order not to clash with the opening of the Chagford Film Festival.

If you have any items to add to the agenda, please send them in to friendsofchagfordlibrary [at] gmail [dot] com by Thursday, 23 Sept.

See the Working Group Diary page for more information.

Library Campaign Art

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If you’re curious about where the retro-look Library Campaign art used on this website comes from: These images are classic British government posters from World War I and World War II.

(Some of you might be old enough to remember some of the original posters!)

The messages on the posters were re-vamped for the UK’s national Library Campaign by Phil Bradley, library technology consultant and past president of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). He has graciously allowed us to use the images for Chagford’s local library campaign, along with his best wishes for our campaign’s success.

You can see the entire collection of retro Library Campaign posters here.

Library campaign updates

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Here’s a round-up of recent news stories related to the local and nation Library Campaign:

* Unison has just launched a new petition protesting the threatened closure of rural libraries. Go here if you’d like to sign, and please pass it on to family, friends, and neighbors.

* Ashburton Library (one of the 28 rural libraries under threat) is considering moving into the Ashburton Post Office.

* Voices for the Library has just issued a smart and reasoned response to the new Rural Libraries Report.

* Another reason we need to keep libraries open: A major international study by the OECD finds that UK graduates lack literacy skills.

* The Read On Get On campaign aims to make radical improvement in reading standards one of the central goals of politics and education in the next decade. (A note to the campaign: saving our libraries would be a good start!)