You can read the full strategy here: (Click on the heading Essex Future Library Services Strategy 2019-2024).

The council's offer to community-run libraries

Many community-run libraries already operate successfully across the country. Seven community-run libraries currently exist in Essex. They are volunteer-run and owned and managed by local groups, not the council. Some have existed for many years, others are new. In 2017 alongside the mobile libraries review, we supported some communities to set up community-run libraries in places that didn’t already have one.

Current community-run libraries are based in: Chrishall, Finchingfield, Great Bromley, Jaywick Library Access Point, Lamarsh, Ramsey and Steeple Bumpstead.

We recognise that there are challenges in setting up a community-run library. This is why we have developed a comprehensive support offer, rather than a simple one-off grant, to support the formation of all new community-run libraries.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit a formal proposal setting out their case for running a community-run library. Upon adoption of the strategy, the process will begin to agree and set up as many community-run libraries as possible. The submission and agreement process will be published on the Community Library Services pages

Support offer for community-run libraries


3-year grant to assist with establishing a community-run library. Could be used for:

  • maintenance
  • furniture/furnishings costs
  • property rent/associated costs
  • purchasing additional stock
  • purchasing/funding public computers and internet access

Grant for 3 years:

  • Year 1: £8,000
  • Year 2: £7,000
  • Year 3: £3,000


Initial donation

One-off donation of book stock. The number of books will be agreed on a case by case basis and proportionate to usage.

Regular refresh

An additional ongoing bulk-loan of books from the council’s stock, in proportion to usage which will be rotated quarterly. The council deliver to and collect from community-run library.

Community library card

Access to full ECC library stock. The council will provide a library card allowing the community-run library to reserve and collect from the council’s stock from council-run locations on behalf of its users.

ECC Outreach and Engagement


Ongoing support and visits by council staff to deliver outreach activities in the best place  for children and adults. Designed on the basis of community need.

Support and guidance 

Ongoing council support through advice, guidance and training to the community-run library to train and cascade information to their volunteers such as Equality and Diversity training, stock editing and management, collaboration between community-run library services, delivery of activities such as Rhymetime, equality and diversity.

Sharing of best practice

The Council will create a community library forum/network, which will be available for community-run library representatives.