Ross Library Development Group


After a superb December event with that wonderful entertainer, Dick Brice, we took a break from evening events until the Spring. In the New Year we organised a couple of daytime events, a book launch and a St Patrick's Day quiz, and we encouraged people to recognise the library as one of the best "Warm Spaces" in town. When lighter, warmer evenings arrived we welcomed Meriet Duncan who gave an entrancing talk about the world of honey bees, and Alis Hawkins for a superb book launch. In June we held our AGM, a chance to look back over the year, and forward to new challenges. You can find the 2023 AGM minutes, here . I stepped down at the AGM after ten years with Ross Library Development Group. It has been busy and varied and sometimes stressful - but a wonderful opportunity to get to know the amazing professionals who run our library service, and so many members of the local community who value it so highly. Sadly the July event has had to be cancelled, but we hope to see supporters old and new at our scheduled event in September.

Clare Llewellyn West, June 2023


In past years we have purchased folding seats, thanks to Herefordshire Community Foundation and Comic Relief; a sound system for talks and workshops, blinds, a new display cabinet and a new projector, and a new sofa and three easy chairs to replace the very scruffy old ones. In 2017 we commissioned and installed a new noticeboard at the front of the library and we also purchased a wonderful treasury of Lego to allow the library team to start a Lego club. In addition we made a generous contribution to the Ross Gazette digitisation project. We paid to add wheels to the remaining adult bookcases in the main library, so that the space can be more easily used for larger events. With the main funding pressures being on staffing, we then concentrated on funding events and activities in the library - from children's art and craft workshops, to music, drama and storytelling and even a visiting planetarium! Our own fundraising was boosted in 2016 by donations from the local Rotary Club and from Ross Town Council, in 2017 we received a very generous donation in memory of local gent's outfitter Mervyn James, a great supporter of Ross Library, and in 2020 a donation from Mayor Danny Lister's Mayoral fund for young people in Ross on Wye. As always we keep in touch with library staff to see where we might make the best contribution, and during lockdown we agreed to make a major donation towards "PressReader" which gives library members online access to a massive range of news publications and magazines. Now that the library is fully functioning again we are concentrating on supporting measures to encourage people to relax and enjoy the library as we head into this difficult winter. We made a major donation in December to help with ongoing improvements in the Children's Library and in the Dennis Potter Room, and we will be supporting Children's workshops in the library during 2023.


The Sieghart Independent report on the Public Library Service was published, (read it here) and led to the establishment of a national Library Task Force. However, library cuts continue nationally at a frightening level. We submitted a detailed report on the issues from our own experience of the things which matter and are succeeding here in Ross on Wye. In 2015 we raised a petition, with over 7000 signatures, which was debated in a full council meeting on December 18th. You can read our presentation to Council. In summer 2016 we learnt that the library service was yet again among the targets for possible cuts in the latest budget round. The Cabinet Meeting on October 13th decided the next set of targets for cuts to the service. Joint Action for Herefordshire Libraries (JAHL) held a demonstration ahead of that meeting, lobbied many of the councillors and submitted a further report, Libraries for Life on the subject. Further cuts were made but no library was closed that time around. The latest developments include bringing other services into the library - which was the reason for major restructuring in Ross Library early in 2018. There has also been a period of "soft" market testing to see if any organisation would be interested in taking over management of the library service. We regret that the Council decided to move forward on this despite strong opposition and clearly expressed concerns from library supporters. There were major changes in the council following the May 2019 elections, and this idea appears to have been shelved. We continue to watch developments and lobby actively when necessary. Keep track of events via our Facebook page.

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