You’re funded by Suffolk County Council – why do you need donations?
Suffolk County Council fund us to provide the basic library service, but much of our crucial work falls outside of this provision. Our service includes tackling loneliness and isolation, jobseeker skills sessions and children’s activities for parents and carers.
I pay council tax – doesn’t that go towards funding the libraries?
We do receive funding from Suffolk County Council which this year (2021-22) covers about 90% of our core costs. This is a fixed sum but our costs are likely to rise over the next few years. In order to keep all libraries and mobiles running we became a charity in 2014, which enables us to fundraise for additional income for the benefit of your local community.
If I contribute to Suffolk Libraries won’t that just enable the council to reduce your funding further?
The funding we receive from Suffolk County Council is entirely independent of our fundraising. One doesn’t affect the other. However, there is a direct correlation between the work we can do in our communities to improve literacy, combat rural isolation and enable digital inclusion and any additional money we can raise.
Haven’t the Covid recovery grants you’ve received covered any shortfall?
Covid Recovery Grants have been very helpful but they are a one-off. We need to continue funding our activities and growing them well into the future.
You are reporting a surplus this year (2021-22). Why do you need me to contribute?
While we are reporting a surplus this year, we don’t expect things to remain the same. Our funding from Suffolk County Council is fixed but our expenditure grows year on year. Our communities will continue to need our help after the pandemic. We need to secure this support now so we can make more of an impact in the future.
Why should I give to Suffolk Libraries when there are other more immediate causes I could support, such as Cancer Research, children’s charities etc?
Giving to charity is very personal. We don’t profess to be more in need or have a better cause than other charities. We would encourage you to find out more about what we do and the impact we have. If you then feel you would like to see us continue providing our crucial services in Suffolk then please donate.
Am I absolving Suffolk County Council of their legal and statutory responsibilities?
No. Suffolk County Council fund a statutory service. Our fundraising enables us to provide crucial activities and services beyond this.
I don’t use libraries, so why should I contribute to them? Are libraries still relevant?
Libraries provide a wide range of free services, activities and initiatives that help people in many different ways – from tackling isolation and loneliness, improving literacy and supporting mental health and wellbeing. We run over 10,000 activities per year which are attended by over 200,000 people and we loan around 3,000,000 books per year.
If you are short of funding can’t you just run libraries with volunteers?
In our experience, the most successful libraries are run by dedicated professional staff, supported by enthusiastic volunteers. Without professional staff it would be difficult to provide a consistent, reliable service with the same number of opening hours. Effective volunteers also need to be supported by paid staff.
I don’t want to fund all these ‘extra activities’ – they are noisy and disruptive. All I want is a quiet place to get my books or to sit and read the newspaper.
Our activities are very popular but we appreciate that some will prefer to visit the library when it’s quiet. We can help to advise you on the best time to visit.
What do you spend the money on?
Funds donated to Suffolk Libraries help towards the running costs of the library service which includes activities such as Top Time, Wordplay, Open Space, Phone a friend and Laptop Loans.
Will funds go to my local library?
When you donate to Suffolk Libraries the money goes towards the running costs of the service overall rather than an individual library. We allocate funding to address specific needs that arise within libraries.
I can’t find you on the charities database
Although we’re not on the Charities Commission database, we do have charitable status. We were originally categorised as an ‘Industrial and Provident Society’, an entity which ceased to exist when the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Act 2014 was enacted, at which point we became a mutual society.