An explanation of “The Friends of Milborne Port Library 2019” (FOMPL 2019 or F19 for short).
In 2010 The Friends of Milborne Port Library (FOMPL) formed in protest against the planned closure of Milborne Port and 10 other Somerset Libraries. FOMPL is in close touch with Friends of Somerset Libraries (FOSL) who are in contact with the county’s other Library Friends Groups; one of our trustees is a FOSL trustee too. In Oct 2011 FOSL took SCC to court and won, stopping the planned closures. However we know that Somerset County Council (SCC) still have financial issues so, by being active members of FOSL, we are maintaining close contact with SCC to ensure their future plans maintain the county’s libraries. FOSL has had many face to face meetings with SCC since 2011 and continues to have meetings with SCC. Also we have raised questions at SCC open meetings. FOSL still hold funds, ready to take SCC back to court if they stray from their legal obligations.
In 2018 Thirteen County Libraries were moved into a “Community Library Partnership” (CLP). Thus FOMPL became F19 by reforming at a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), a registered Charity, so we could undertake the village part of the CLP, Somerset County Council (SCC) being the other party. The county passed various costs down to village / town level: staff and building costs being 2 major ones.
The current situation: Under the CLP, the County has given F19 the outgoing mobile Library as a temporary Library, whilst awaiting the build of a community hub. It is parked in East Street car park, manned by County Library staff and the vehicle maintained by F19.
Future: The build of the Community Hub is a Parish Council Initiative, to be rented to the PC under a peppercorn rent but built and owned by a property developer as part of approval for a housing estate adjacent to Wheathill Way. Administration of this Building is being organised by the PC, F19 and Heritage, who hope to run the hub as a library while displaying village artifacts,
FOMPL 2019 is run by a group of trustees, currently numbering 8.
Particular activities we have been doing locally:-
Extra events in the library: We have a jigsaw library, children’s story and rhyme time including colouring in, provided volunteers to “deep-clean” the shelves. For National Library Week – annually in February – we have arranged events. We organise special Story Times for children from School and Playgroup, and National Libraries Day itself included quizzes, a perpetual jig-saw, and distributing publicity about the Library Service. In the library we have arranged computer courses. For children we have a summer reading challenge.
In 2015 we started “Out of Hours” events. Reading groups, History, Spanish are current projects, and these OOH activities may well restart in the Community Hub.
While in the mobile Library and during Covid, these activities have reduced.
We keep the whole community informed via a monthly report in the monthly Village Magazine, on the village website (www.milborneport.org.uk), on Notice Boards and in the Library.
Thank you again for your support
Rick Jones. On behalf of the Trustees, FOMPL 2019