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Member organisations

Friends of Woodbridge Library (FOWL)

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Contact us

  • Telephone the library at 01394 330855 and ask to speak with the library manager, Helen Scrivener
  • Email


Who are we?

We are local people who use the Woodbridge Library in a wide variety of ways. We provide practical support to the library and promote it to the Woodbridge community.

Woodbridge Library volunteers

Left to right: Friends & volunteers Sue Cornford, Jane Lynam and Jane Guy at our UNICEF exhibition

Why should you join the Friends of Woodbridge Library?

If you are interested in the library and would like to do more to help it flourish in these times of budget austerity, the Friends of Woodbridge Library (FOWL) provides the opportunity to do so.

We promote interesting events, raise funds for library programme enhancement and we co-operate with and support the hard-working and talented Woodbridge Library staff in much of what it does.

Who can become a Friend of the Library?

Anyone aged 16 or older who has a Suffolk Libraries card and is a user of the Woodbridge Library is eligible to join FOWL. There is no membership fee or dues to pay.

How do I join?

Complete the FOWL membership form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

How are we governed?

We have a Committee of Trustees elected from the membership at FOWL’s annual general meeting, which takes place at the library each spring. For more information about this, email

Download our constitution

FOWL Committee members

  • Sally Bull
  • Tim Cornford
  • Anne Gartley (treasurer)
  • Jane Lynam
  • Tracy Rogers (secretary)
  • Helen Scrivener
  • Henning Sieverts (vice-chair)
  • Christine Webber
  • Kay Yule (chair)

The back story

During 2011 long-term sharp cutbacks in central government funding for public libraries stimulated Suffolk County Council, which operated 44 libraries, to form Suffolk Libraries Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) Ltd, a new non-profit corporation to take over the funding and management of the libraries.

The goal was to save all of the libraries from closure while reducing costs by 25%, and continuing to provide stable core financing. In order to enhance and strengthen community involvement, each local library was asked to organise a volunteer group similar to the Friends of Woodbridge Library. We organised formally in April 2013.

What does FOWL do?

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We work closely with library staff to help to organise and run a very wide range of community activities. So far these have included:

  • Book sales
  • Lunchtime and evening concerts
  • Theatre productions
  • A fashion show
  • Poetry readings
  • Quiz evenings
  • Author events

What we don’t do!

Our role is to be helpful in many ways, but we are not the library’s governing body. That role is in the able hands of Suffolk Libraries IPS Limited, which manages the 44 libraries, and employs the libraries’ staff.

Suffolk Libraries is governed by a board of directors elected at its AGM, and FOWL has a voting representative at all general meetings.

What has been achieved so far?

Since its formation in the spring of 2013, FOWL has sponsored or organised dozens of projects and programmes at the library.

Some of these have been fundraisers, others have been educational and recreational events. The library’s outreach has been strengthened, and library staff have welcomed the support and assistance of FOWL members and volunteers in many areas.

Where does the money go?

FOWL is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. All money donated to FOWL and raised through its fundraising efforts is held in an account at Lloyd’s Bank in Woodbridge.

During the 2017-18 financial year our income totalled £7,163.46 and we spent £5,323.86, largely on equipment to enhance the services provided by the library. This included office equipment, expanded storage and moveable shelving for the children's library to allow more room for events.

Our library and the future

The long-term future of the library and the other public libraries in Suffolk appears to be secure under the ownership and leadership of Suffolk Libraries IPS Ltd.

During the early part of 2016 the library and council service desks were re-sited and enlarged to enable Suffolk Coastal District Council to provide a full customer service in the town centre as well as its tourist information function.

What the Friends of Woodbridge Library can do, and are helping to do on behalf of the larger Woodbridge community, is to strengthen the library’s offerings, to increase the appreciation and use of the library, and to demonstrate that public libraries are a vital public service that merits continued public finance.