Council invites bids to run Derby’s ten community libraries

Exterior of Mackworth library

Mon 18 Mar 2024

Derby City Council is inviting organisations to formally register their interest in running the city’s ten community libraries as a Trust.

The Council has been exploring ways to deliver a sustainable, long-term library service and meet the changing needs of the city’s communities.

This has involved considering many other models, including retaining the community libraries in-house or running them jointly with other councils.

Last month, Cabinet approved plans for the city’s non-statutory libraries to be run by a Trust and a formal Expression of Interest process is now open to invite viable proposals. This is the opening stage of a process where Trusts, or organisations that can establish a Trust, can set out their willingness to be involved.

The separate organisation could either run the community libraries itself or establish a new Trust to do so.

Organisations have until Fri 26 Apr to submit an Expression of Interest form which they can request by filling in the form at the end of this page.

As part of their application, organisations need to show that they have the knowledge, experience, and resources or support to manage the buildings or spaces to deliver a range of services, including library provision.

Proposals will be evaluated, and a single preferred organisation or a shortlist of bidders will then be invited to submit a formal outline business plan.

The Council could provide a grant and support packages to be negotiated as part of the formal process to find a Trust.

Interested organisations can find out more about the facilities and application process in a series of meetings in the week beginning 8 Apr.

Cllr Baggy Shanker, Leader of Derby City Council, said:

Our ambition is to protect and sustain our libraries for the future and drive forward their growth.

This is a different opportunity from previous proposals as the Council is now seeking a single, separate Trust to champion all ten of Derby’s community libraries to deliver and enhance needs-led, sustainable services.

Libraries are the backbone of thriving communities. They work hand-in-hand with other public services to allow people to flourish. From early childhood literacy to job training resources, libraries contribute to positive social and economic outcomes, making a real difference to people’s lives and where they live.

We very much look forward to hearing from organisations who want to be part of that difference.

The Council has a legal duty under the Public Libraries Museums Act 1964 to provide a "comprehensive and efficient service" for people who live, work or study within the authority area.

In Derby the statutory provision is delivered from five static libraries - Alvaston, Mickleover, Normanton, Riverside Library in the Council House, and Derby Local Studies and Family History Library in Riverside Chambers - and a store at Blagreaves. These libraries are not affected by the proposals and will continue to be operated by the Council.

The Council will continue to operate the city’s ten community libraries while the formal process to find a Trust to run them takes place.

The community library buildings are Allestree, Allenton, Blagreaves, Chaddesden Park, Chellaston, Derwent Community Library, Mackworth, Sinfin, Spondon and Springwood (Oakwood).