Friends of Colyton Library (FoCL) was created in 2007 following a successful campaign to prevent the closure of Colyton Library by Devon County Council (DCC)
The Friends group has been active in supporting the library, encouraging more usage, running events and fundraising.
The Friends provide regular events, book launches and a monthly coffee morning in the library on Tuesdays to which anyone and everyone is invited.
The 'Friends' campaigned for and achieved the modernisation and refurbishment of the Library in 2011. This provided more space and a better environment. This work was funded by DCC with help from Colyton Chamber of Feoffees, Colyton Parish History Society and the Friends of Colyton Library and was much welcomed and appreciated by the residents of Colyton and Colyford.
The next change also occurred in 2011, when DCC had to reduce expenditure on Libraries due to their reduced budget. This resulted in the opening hours of our Library being reduced from 16.5 hours to 12.5 hours per week, of which one session per week on Tuesday mornings is run by FoCL volunteers, trained by Devon Library Service. (DLS) The use of volunteers enables people to borrow and return books, browse and use the computers. This session is known as 'Library Extra'.
This "Extra" session enables people to borrow and return books using the self-service machine, installed as part of the refurbishment, and use the computers.
In 2014 DCC once again faced a major challenge due to the requirement to make major savings.
In 2015 DCC decided that the most effective way to achieve this was to set up the Devon Library Service as a mutual organisation, named 'Libraries Unlimited' (LU) which is a charity. DCC now commissions the library service from LU. This does not affect the delivery of the current service.
Colyton is classified as a small library and our challenge is to work with the community and DLS to identify how we can make changes, including reducing our running costs by making recurring savings and to provide a successful library experience that reflects the needs of the 21st Century.
Transfer of ownership of Colyton Library building to Colyton Parish Council
One way to reduce the running costs and to provide more security for the service was to transfer the ownership to a partnership between Colyton Parish Council (CPC) and Friends of Colyton Library who are now responsible for the maintenance of the building. The Library service continues to be provided and managed by DLS. There is a formal lease between FoCL and the CPC and a license between FoCL and LU.
Friends of Colyton Library and are extremely pleased to have achieved this new partnership as are the Colyton Parish Council and the Chamber of Feoffees who are all determined to keep a thriving library for the community of Colyton and Colyford.
2015 FoCL achieved charitable status to be a charitable company for tax
purposes , number EW39477. This enables FoCL to apply for certain grants and for gift aid on donations and subscriptions.
2016 A successful application was made to the Skipton Building Society for £500.00 to install a bench to provide a place to sit and use the library WiFi outside opening hours.
2017 – 2018 The major effort at this time was to secure funds for the installation of photovoltaic cells on the library roof to generate income and reduce the electricity bill. The target of £5,000.00 was successfully achieved and the electricity is now being generated.
2019 - Following the success of the WiFi bench, which is well used by all and especially by the young people, it was decided to improve the area. Working with the young people of Colyton and Colyford, an art competition for the 11-16 age group was held and the winning entry was laminated and hung on the wall. This area has been improved. An event to celebrate this achievement and to
present the prizes was held in October 2019.
2021- The Covid pandemic has understandably made things difficult for the library, and for FoCL, with restricted opening and access for borrowers. The inevitable reduction in income from Membership and Fundraising has lead to careful consideration of our expenditure – utility bills still happen! Our determination to lower the electricity charges saw us apply to the Norman Family Charitable Trust Covid Fund to enable replacement of our existing costly heating system. FoCL have been awarded £4000 and the new system is awaiting installation – somewhat delayed by Covid causing delays in supply of equipment.
We are focusing on
• continuing to raise the profile of this community library and to broaden its use
• maintaining an active programme of events for children and adults
• fundraising and working with the library staff to encourage more participation with the children and young people.
• working with the community of Colyton and Colyford, to maintain and run the library in a manner that is sustainable and within budget and meets the community's need.
The Volunteers run a monthly coffee morning on the first Tuesday of the month, they also support children's events and assist with the Book Quest reading scheme.
How can you help?
This is a community library which means that ideas for the future are all very welcome. Please do contact us if you wish to get involved with the future of the library or can contribute in any way..