Hereford Library Users' Group

Extraordinary General Meeting April 1st 2016

HLUG Extraordinary General Meeting

2.00 pm 1 April 2016

Apologies from Mo Burns, Euan Macpherson, Emma Mays, Kate Seekings.

Those present: William McMorran, Jane Adams, John Faulkner, Anne Harbour, John Hitchin, Elinor Kelly, Liz Pitman. Hubert Porte, Terry Preece, and Les Watson

Jon Chedgzoy, Library Services Manager was in attendance.

1. Introductions were made.

2. Way forward – immediate action:

a) Council’s intentions subsequent to review were not yet known, but it was thought that it would be very likely that the Cabinet will wish to off load cultural services as far as possible. JBLF reported Natalia Silver’s recent email:

“We need to go back to cabinet, which I have booked as an emergency item for the 9th May (I know doesn’t sound like emergency, but beyond the 28 working day notice for the forward plan).  The report is based on your proposal of moving back in and holding remaining funds where we can for any match, but likely to have a time line. Jon is organising a trip to the site.  But do you think we should do some communications – it might be a bit limp as we cannot say if the proposals are acceptable until a decision made by cabinet but rather be upfront rather than silence. I can draft something.”

b) HLUG should seek to ring fence available funds as far as is possible subject to costs of refurbishment.

NB the removal of the asbestos had been estimated at £68K and a further £100K set aside for minimal repairs. A sum of £900K had been identified in the Cabinet minutes of 9 Dec 2015

c) Agreement of minimal refurbishment of Broad Street, which, as reported by JC at the AGM would involve repairing some damage to the internal fabric of the building. It was agreed that a small party of HLUG members led by WMcM would tour the building to see what the current situation was and what could be regarded as minimal repairs. It was later suggested that this party should include WISH (Euan Macpherson?), the Woolhope and either the HMSG or the FHMA (see below)

d) Every effort should be made to ascertain the soonest date at which the Broad Street building could be reopened if necessarily in part in order to keep the library service going since the Town Hall facility is deemed inadequate.

e) Obtain a measured survey of the building by a professional – WMcM pointed out that this was essential before any serious planning could proceed. Presumably the Council will pay for this.

f) Plans should be made and material prepared to commence using the Broad Street building as a means of promoting the project and attracting volunteer help.

g) Project costings – not discussed until more is known

3. Formation of a Broad street Project Committee: most members of the HLUG committee wished to be part of this, with LW stressing that this was the primary reason for his volunteering. It would now be important to connect with other interested parties and stakeholders. This should include the Friends of the Herefordshire Museums and Arts; the Hereford Museum support Group and the Woolhope Club all of whom should be approached formally.

NB for information: In the initial stages of preparing the response to the Cabinet and the Rankin Centre proposal approached had been made to the FHMA who did not appear to be particularly interested; the HMSG who were, especially through the help given by Judy Stevenson of the Museum Resource Centre; the Woolhope Club were communicated with formally through the Secretary, David Whitehead and a number of individual members who were also HLUG members, some quite actively for a number of years. Approaches were also made to the Friends of HARC who are supportive; the Herefordshire Family History Society, also very supportive and a number of other local history societies. Discussions also took place with WISH, HVOSS, the Courtyard, the Arts College and several councillors. A presentation had been given to the City Council’s Finance Committee. Rural Media and the county’s sheriff had also been helpful. A close working relationship has been established with the NMITE.

LP stressed that it would be necessary to establish the ownership of the building; any covenants; and cabinet approval. It was noted that this had been dealt with in the Proposal and in the Response to the Cabinet, which JBLF will circulate to all members. Original documents do exist and will also be circulated. The history of the building has been written by Jean O’Donnell, a HLUG member and past President of the Woolhope Club, in the Woolhope Transactions some years ago (Reference forthcoming)

4. TP asked that the title Rankin Centre be reviewed. He had conducted a small survey which had produced negative results. However that meeting agreed that for the foreseeable future the title should be retained until a better suggestion at a later stage might emerge; a major donor, for example. LW stressed that in his experience with the Saltire Centre project in Glasgow the name soon became iconic

5. Review role of HLUG in initially leading the project and the transition to a Project Group (see 3 above). It was stressed that regardless of the work of this Group, there would be a need for the continuation of HLUG in order to be able to monitor the work of the library using Council and CIPFA data etc and provide volunteers for various projects including digitization.

The Project Group would evolve and HLUG Officers had already identified several potential volunteers.

6) Applications for start-up funding. Apart from the HLF and Big Lottery, the ACE could be approached and use made of the Herefordshire Council’s funding officers and their Funding Directory. HLUG officers have been working on this and will provide any relevant information so far gathered. The availability of £60K from the Council’s ‘Development fund’ should be noted and a bid for a proportion of that be made.

7 & 9) Appointments: some discussion took place on the role that individual HLUG members might take.

The Vice Chair would be Les Watson

The Secretary’s role divided into two: Jane Adams to maintain the membership list and Liz Pitman to keep the minutes from the next meeting onwards.

A Press Officer’s role would be taken by Bill Laws.

Representation on the Joint Action for Herefordshire Libraries would be the Chairman and one other, to be nominated.

8 ) The HLUG website was currently managed by Hubert Porte who agreed to continue doing this until someone equipped to manage social media could be recruited. It was noted that there already existed a Facebook Save Our Libraries page existed and that this was managed through 38 degrees by a HLUG member John Llewellyn Perkins, who was very approachable and helpful. JA agreed to set up an email address.

10) Press. BL agreed to draft a press release (in the event, after the meeting JBLF did so).

HLUG had personal contacts with the Hereford Times, the Herefordshire Voice web site and the BBC Hereford and Worcester, but not with Wyvern.

11) Date of next meeting was fixed for 16 May 2 p.m. in the Shire Hall.

(JBLF    John Faulkner                                HLF     Heritage Lottery Fund

JH          John Hitchin                                   HLUG   Hereford Library Users’ Group

LW         Les Watson                                     HMSG  Hereford Museums Support Group

JA          Jane Adams                                      FHMA Friends of Hereford Museum and Art Gallery

BL          Bill Lawes                                         HARC  Hereford Archives Resource Centre

TP          Terry Preece                                     NMITE    New University of Hereford

JC          Jon Chedgzoy                                    ACE        Arts Council England

WMcM  William McMorran                         CIPFA    Chartered Institute of  Finance and  .

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