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Library Update

13th January 2017

  • Finham Library is now run by an enthusiastic set of volunteers supported by City Council staff and we are delighted to report that feedback has shown that users are happy and appreciative of the service being offered. The trustees and volunteers are committed to making Finham Library a pleasant and welcoming place for every visitor. We have plans to encourage people to come to the library on a more regular basis by diversifying our offering and turning it into a community hub. We will update you all as soon as we can.
  • The library has extended its opening hours with full days on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Full details on our website.
  • FLAG has added over 300 completely new books into the library and now has a shelf of used books for sale so come along and have a look to see if there is anything you want. Donations of books in GOOD condition are welcome.
  • FLAG is happy to report that we now enjoy an excellent working relationship with both elected councillors and officials at Coventry City Council. The friends of the library are looking forward to making varied contributions to the City of Culture celebrations and making Finham and the surrounding areas more vibrant and welcoming into the 2020s and beyond.
  • The library can accommodate groups who wish to meet on a regular basis for a very reasonable fee. There are a number of groups using our facilities but there is room for more! If you wish to host a group or have a one-off meeting at the library, please contact us via the website or drop into the library and leave your contact details.
  • We shall be holding a fund-raising quiz at St Martin’s Church Hall on 10th March so get your teams together and come and join us for a fun evening. There will be a ploughman’s supper included in the price and drinks will be available. Details to follow.
  • If you have any clothes or accessories in very good condition, we are intending to hold a sale of quality items at the library in late March. We will be looking for donations of suitable goods and support for the sale on the day. (Please don’t take donations of clothing etc. to the library as we do not have any storage available just yet.) We will keep you posted!
  • We are still waiting for the Charities Commission to complete our registration as a charity although we hope that this will be done within the next month.

We will be relying on support from our local community to make the library a success. Please support us if you possibly can.

We wish you all a happy and prosperous 2018.
Best Wishes

NEW LIBRARY OPENING TIMES

From 4th DECEMBER 2017
Monday 10.00am-5.00pm
Tuesday 10.00am-6.00pm
Thursday 10.00am-5.30pm
Friday 10.00am-2.00pm
Saturday 9.30am-12.30pm

RhymeTime Starting again

24th October 2017

As of next week (2nd November), we will be resuming RhymeTime every Thursday morning, during Term Time, from 10:30 till 11:00.
Open to all preschool ages, and free to all.

New Books and Lease Update

19th October 2017

A number of people have asked when new books will be available to borrow. We have learned from a trainer that it is the council’s intention to exclude FLAG from the new book rota. As a short term measure we are looking to implement a contingency plan which we are aiming to introduce in the near future.

A lease travelling document has now been received from the council, . together with a memorandum of understanding. We are taking legal advice on Friday afternoon concerning these documents and the amendments we are seeking. Hopefully this will help move forward the takeover date but we will keep you informed.

Library Update

9th October 2017

Dear All

The trustees thought it might be an idea to update you as to exactly where we are and what plans we have in order to take the library forward. Lesley informed us that some of you perhaps had some concerns about our intentions so we thought that it was best to try and clarify our plans and reasons for them. We are very happy to hear your suggestions etc and we will have a meeting in a few weeks to further discussions. The current state of affairs is as follows:

  • Finham library is running as planned on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some volunteers are working alongside City Council Library staff on those days.
  • In the next few weeks a further group of volunteers will be trained and after that time we hope to extend our opening hours according to their availability.
  • We have received copies of a lease and a memorandum of understanding from the council and we are considering these and hope to return them as amended this week.
  • Many of you are aware of the proposals for a cafe in the library serving tea/ coffee/soft drinks and cakes. We believe that in the longer term the only way that we can generate enough income to pay our outgoings will be to have such a facility. We have spoken and visited other community libraries with such a facility and they confirm that the cafes make a huge contribution towards running costs.
  • In order to have a cafe we will need to install a new toilet with a disabled facility and a new kitchen area. We are hoping that the funds will be available from the City Council’s transition fund to cover the alterations and all indications are that this will be the case. We are currently consulting architects with a view to drawing up plans and it seems likely that we will need to put in a new access to the toilet area at the far end of the library in the current children’s section.
  • As a consequence we intend to move the children’s area to the section where the meeting table stands at the moment.
  • We will also need to move shelving around so that we have an area for seating for the cafe area, which is anticipated to be close to where the photocopier is currently situated. We are hoping to have furniture which will be modular so that the area can be used for meetings or training sessions outside of library hours.
  • There will be some disruption while alterations go ahead but it is inevitable that we will need to make changes as the library is going to have to be run as a business if we are going to have a viable future.
  • We are mindful that this is a community building and our efforts will be concentrated on making the building fit for several uses apart from being a library. To this end we have successfully listed the building AND the green as community assets. They are now registered as such for 5 years which means that the Council cannot dispose of them without giving the community six months to raise funds to purchase the sites.
  • We have already registered as a future food business and we are waiting to hear back regarding our formal application for FLAG to be registered as a charity. A bank account for FLAG has been opened for FLAG with Sam Patel and Stan McCarthy as joint signatories.
  • Two fund raising/community events are currently planned.One is a quiz in November and the other is a lantern parade and carol singing event on Finham Green in conjunction with the primary school in December. Please note that we will be hoping that you can help to get teams together to support the quiz and a good time can be had by all! More details to follow soon.
  • When we formally take over, we will immediately put a book sales shelf in the library so please hang on to your books that are in good condition and they can be brought in when that facility is up and running. Hopefully this will include more recent titles that will be available for as little as 50p.
  • We have plans to have screens that can be used for mini-exhibitions in the library and we will welcome input from local photographers and artists.
We hope that this helps to explain the current state of affairs and as always we value your comments and suggestions. (We will be putting a suggestion box in the library soon.) We know that some comments have been made about the type of stock available in the library and we will be taking this up with Council staff.

If you wish to discuss or comment now please contact us via Sue’s email genegenie500@gmail.com

Best Wishes and continued thanks for your support.

Sue
John
Robert
Stan
Sam

Progress from the Council

28th September 2017

The trustees have now received a lease and a memorandum of understanding from the City Council. We are perusing carefully but are hopeful that an agreement is in sight. Thanks for all your patience! FLAG trustees.

Volunteer Training Starting

7th September 2017

I had an email from Rob last night, the Flag trustees met with head of library and council, things are progressing. Rob will update fully later.
We have now been asked to start assisting to man the library, there will at least next week be 2 members of staff as I understand, but we would appreciate if you could do your shifts as planned. Any problems let me know.

Library Take Over Postponed

1st September 2017

Dear Volunteers

We are writing to inform you that unfortunately we are unable to go ahead and open the library as planned on 4th September.

Today we received an email from the council which made it clear that the service level agreement (SLA) that was sent to us did not specifically relate to Finham and was only meant as an illustration of what the SLA might look like. Further it appears that they have not considered the business plan which was sent to them 2 months ago. The council requested that we needed to expand upon some areas and this was duly done and sent back to them a month ago. Today's communication shows that no formal consideration of the plan has been carried out and no recommendations have been made to the City Council. Until this is done, no money can be released to pay the expenses of Finham Library. We have verbally been assured on several occasions that the money will be forthcoming but the unwillingness of the City Council to commit anything to a legal form suggests otherwise.

The Council is not prepared to send properly prepared documents to us including the SLA and the lease and because of the number of delays, u-turns and complete lack of clarity, it has been regretfully decided by the prospective trustees that we cannot go ahead and open the library with the lack of progress that has been made.

This has taken us completely by surprise and we are currently considering our options. The prospective trustees have a great willingness and commitment , both individually and collectively, to ensure that we have a library/community hub in Finham. We are very keen to move forward but we think that the City Council officers will not do the same if they think that they have a voluntary workforce to carry out their legal responsibilities and duties. If we went ahead on 4th the trustees would be taking considerable risks while the Council are taking none.

We will keep you informed of our progress and we hope that you understand the position that we have taken.

We would all like to thank you for the time, effort and support that you have put into this venture so far and we fervently hope that your newfound talents will soon be put to good use in Finham Library.

Robert Aitken
Sam Patel
John Oakley
Sue Vickery
Stan McCarthy

The work of FLAG continues on a weekly basis

16th July 2017

  • Volunteers for Tuesday and Thursday have been contacted to begin their training.
  • Conversations continues with both environmental health and planning to ensure we fulfil our legal obligations as to our future plans
  • The business plan has been referred back for some clarifications and work on quotes for the future plans are being obtained.
  • The pop-up cafe was a great success for all groups involved and work is being done to ensure that future events are planned.

Training Progress

4th July 2017

Speaking with other libraries in the city, and the council, we now have a training plan to work for. We are working on organising this into workable sessions, and will next organise dates for volunteers to attend

If you would like to view the current training plan as it stands, it is available for download by Clicking Here.

FLAG - Where we are now

30th June 2017

We thought it might be useful if we told people about the progress towards keeping Finham Library open and used as a community hub. We are still looking for volunteers to help run the service or be involved in future fundraising so if you feel that you would like to be involved, please contact us. You can use the page here or you can fill in a form kept at the Library.

So far

  • Five people have volunteered to be prospective trustees.
  • A business plan outlining plans for the library has been submitted to Coventry City Council and we await a reply.
  • The current intention is for the library to remain open, staffed by volunteers from September 2017. It is unlikely that the library will maintain its current opening hours, however the intention is that opening times will increase within a short time as more volunteers are trained.
  • The City Council will be providing training for some of our volunteers before September. This has already been requested by the prospective trustees.
  • Once a formal agreement regarding the handover has been reached, it is intended that Finham Library Action Group will become a registered charity to take our activities forward.
  • It is envisaged that a small cafe area will be opened within the library serving drinks and cakes in order to encourage community use and to raise funds.
  • We are intending to register the library as a community asset so that the building cannot be sold or disposed of by the Council in the future, without giving the community the chance raise funds to purchase the property.

I hope that this clarifies the current position but please contact us if you would like further information.

Sue Vickery - prospective trustee