Update on user-led charity NewSpal

New user-led charity NewSPAL (New Surrey Performing Arts Library) has been offering to take on the running of the Surrey Performing Arts Library (SPAL) from Surrey County Council (SCC).

Finally, it now has an almost definite mandate – SCC Cabinet on 26 June asked it to prepare a business plan for an autumn Cabinet meeting. Providing that plan is robust, Cabinet has agreed to transfer the collection to NewSPAL.

In the meantime, SCC is moving the collection from Denbies into Ewell Library as a temporary measure. A shame they have to do this to save running and staff costs; it would have been better, surely, to leave the collection in Denbies until NewSPAL is ready to take it on.

What does this mean for users?
There will be a short period of closure whilst the collection is moved from Denbies to Ewell in August this year.
NewSPAL will then – if SCC Cabinet approval is given in the autumn – move the performing arts library to its ultimate destination in 2019.

What can you do now?
NewSPAL has to find premises, commission the IT, and sort out a move, but also raise all the finance for this, as none will be forthcoming from SCC.
Many of you have pledged funds – thank you so much, and soon NewSPAL will ask you to convert those pledges into real cash.
Many of you have also pledged general or specific professional help – thank you to you, too, and again NewSPAL will soon follow up on your offers.
If you haven’t yet contributed in cash or kind, but would like to, please contact the trustees of NewSPAL via support@newspal.org.uk.

How can you find out more and make your views heard?
•    NewSPAL is planning to host a meeting in early autumn for current and potential users from Surrey and adjoining counties
•    Add yourself to the Making Music mailing list on this topic by emailing barbara@makingmusic.org.uk
•    Keep an eye on the NewSPAL website – www.newspal.org.uk 

We are not in Surrey – is this relevant to us?
It may well be. The reason Making Music is putting in the hours in Surrey is that we hope this may prove to be a model which can help struggling performing arts libraries elsewhere in the UK; SPAL is also one of the three largest collections in England, and lends well beyond Surrey regularly, so it is of significance to groups all over the UK, especially through Inter Library Loans.