Micro Libraries

What is a Micro Library?

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A micro library is a browsing collection of approximately 200 books which include fiction, non-fiction and junior books, to give a flavour what is available from the wider library service.  Customers are expected to self-serve and record the books they borrow using a manual honesty system.  It is important that books borrowed are recorded because it both proves the library is used and therefore needed in the community and it helps the library service to identify the type of books that the readership using the library prefers, thereby helping to ensure the right types of books are sent to refresh the collection.

A public computer at the venue enables customers to view the online library catalogue as well as other library online services available to them as library members including requesting books online (Click and Collect), online reference library (including eResources: online newspaperseBooks, eAudiobookseMagazinesonline learning and more).  The computer also allows users to interact with a wide range of Cornwall Council services via the website.

The library stock in a micro library is managed by a Community Library and Information Assistant who will visit each month to check the stock, deliver requested books and exchange stock. The venue may recruit volunteers to help customers join a library online and reserve books online.

Some Micro Libraries are already in place in Cornwall thanks to funding from the national Pub is the Hub scheme (PITH). This has provided a useful pilot for the Community Micro Library initiative.

A micro library will be considered at the request of a community and approaches from individuals must be shown to be fully supported by a reasonable proportion of the community in order to proceed.

Community venues are asked to submit an expression of interest by completing a checklist provided by the council in which the minimum requirements are set out and returning it as directed on the checklist.  If satisfied that the venue meets the requirements the council will provide a start-up grant of up to £1000 for the basic kit, as described in the checklist, to the venue and will supply the stock and support described above.

The council will not rent space for the library from the venue, the concept is that the council grant and book stock provides a community resource for that community to be used when the venue is open in the normal course of its activities, e.g. pub opening hours, shop opening hours, or Yoga clubs, WI sessions, Playgroups in village halls etc. as appropriate to the sort of venue put forward.

Initial enquiries and requests for a copy of the draft checklist and draft agreement should be made to libraries@cornwall.gov.uk