Notes from September meetings. We held two meetings with friends’ trustees on 11th and 12th September, which included an engagement session with Suffolk County Council as part of the library contract retendering process. Notes from these meetings will be circulated shortly.

Notes from July / August community meetings. These were circulated to friends’ trustees as an attachment. If any trustees did not receive a copy and would like to see them, please email daniel.harvey@suffolklibraries.co.uk.

Notes from May community meeting. Thanks to everyone who joined our May community meeting. Notes from the meeting can be found here.

Examples of friends’ fundraising. Thank you to those groups who submitted examples of fundraising activities and initiatives that they’ve organised to support their library over the years. You can find a summary of selected examples here. 

Suffolk County Council approves additional funding for Suffolk Libraries. Over the least year or so, we have spoken to friends’ groups about the significant financial challenge that we were facing and the potential impact that this could have on the service. SCC have now agreed to provide Suffolk Libraries with significant additional funding to address this challenge. Please see this article on the SCC website regarding the increase. 

We still need to fundraise and generate more of our own income! Although SCC have increased our funding, it’s still really important that we increase the money that we generate ourselves. There are various things that friends’ groups can do to help with this,

  • Connecting Suffolk Libraries with businesses. Some members may be able to put Suffolk Libraries in touch with businesses who are willing to partner with us or sponsor us.
  • Promoting room hire. We have rooms in many of our libraries, which are an important source of income for us through room hire. Groups can help us spread the word and get more people hiring these spaces.
  • Supporting our merchandise offer. We will be selling Christmas cards again this year, and are in the process of setting up general greetings card sales in libraries and exploring other lines of merchandise.
  • Donating high value books. Book sales is an increasingly important source of income for Suffolk Libraries. Groups may have members / trustees who are willing to donate high value books for us to sell.
  • Help spread the word that we are a charity worth supporting. One of our biggest fundraising challenges is that we aren’t a ‘traditional’ charity and therefore people struggle to perceive us as a cause worth supporting. You can help spread the word about the huge impact we have on communities throughout Suffolk, and that we are charity worthy of support.

If you need help with any of the above, please email Director of Community and Performance, Daniel Harvey, at daniel.harvey@suffolklibraries.co.uk or call him on 07824 474739.

Information on bank accounts for community and voluntary organisations. Some groups have expressed concern to us that their bank has recently introduced charges for use of their account. You can find information at this link on banking options for community groups which will hopefully be of use, and may help you to find a bank that will not impose changes. https://www.resourcecentre.org.uk/information/bank-accounts-for-community-and-voluntary-organisations/

Promotional postcards for attracting new volunteers. If your group is struggling for volunteers – including trustees – we can provide you with a batch of postcards, specially designed by our graphic designer Kerry, to help you attract new people. You can find an example of the postcard design here. If you would like a batch of these for your library, please email daniel.harvey@suffolklibraries.co.uk and we will sort that out for you.

Zoom account available for member groups to use. We have set up two Zoom accounts for library community groups to ‘book’ so that they can hold online meetings. You can set up your own Zoom account for free, but you will be limited to meetings of 40 minutes duration. We have paid for upgraded accounts that don’t have this limit. If you want to book one, please email daniel.harvey@suffolklibraries.co.uk with your meeting date. As long as one of the accounts is available, Daniel will email you back the login details so you can set up  your meeting.

Join our Suffolk Libraries Members Facebook page where you can connect with trustees of other member groups, share ideas and discuss challenges affecting groups . Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/suffolklibrariesmembers and click on ‘join’.