7 Starlings


Shepton Mallet Library Timeline 2017 - 2021

Here you will find how we emerged and what happened to enable the Library to be kept in the Market Square.

November 2017

SCC announce they will review and re-design the county libraries network “to modernise the library service in Somerset and to put the service on a sustainable financial footing”.

Feb - Jun 2018

SCC state their preferred option is to move Shepton Mallet Library, which serves the town and six surrounding parishes, to the Shape Mendip building out of the Town Centre.

The community mobilise to highlight their concerns at this proposal, including:
• loss of library space,
• loss of the children’s library area,
• loss of access for local schools who engage children in areas of high deprivation,
• loss of 44,000/annum footfall to Town Centre businesses.

Positive engagement approach led by the Friends of Shepton Mallet Library (FoSML) includes ‘Love Your Library Day’ with high profile authors. Adults and children send hundreds of written and drawn postcards to SCC decision makers.

Nov 2018

SCC decision to retain a professionally staffed Library in Shepton Mallet, but to move it to a different location “to improve value for money and reduce costs”. The location decision was deferred until June 2019 for Shepton Mallet Town Council (SMTC) and FoSML to demonstrate the viability of a Town Centre option.

Mar 2019

Love Your Library Day 2 demonstrates the role of the Library as a community venue for events, and the continued community determination to keep the Library in Shepton Mallet Market place.

Apr - Jun 2019

Joint working by SCC, FoSML, SMTC and the landlord of the library building to find solutions to identified issues. FoSML develop proposals for community use of the Library building outside professionally staffed hours, requiring a more flexible library layout.

Jun 2019

Michael Eavis commits to donating £40,000 over 5 years (£8,000/year) to keep the library in the existing premises. It was his boyhood library, and he recognises it has a keystone role in the Town Centre.

Aug 2019

Over 100 local people attend a special meeting of SMTC, at short notice, to support the FoSML proposal. SMTC agree to commit £75,000 (£15,000 / year for 5 years) to SCC to support keeping Shepton Mallet Library in the Town Centre and to extend the professionally staffed opening hours. A new ‘habitat for community talent’ social enterprise is at the heart of the FoSML proposal.

Dec 2019

SCC run a consultation event regarding proposals for redesigning Shepton Mallet Library, withing current premises. There is a consensus around a new flexible layout for professionally staffed and community event uses.

SCC then announce their decision to retain Shepton Mallet Library in the Town Centre, extend professionally staffed hours and invest in refurbishing the current building for community activities enabled by 7 Starlings CIC Community Interest Company (CIC).

Jan 2020

7 Starlings CIC founded; partly to take the FoSML vision for the Library forward and partly to develop the community potential for a wide range of events and activities.

Dec 2020

Following delays caused by Covid-19 issues for SCC, SCC, SMTC and 7 Starlings CIC hold virtual meetings and negotiate agreements to finalise preparations for the Library refurbishment. 7 Starlings CIC secure £7,000 of donations from benefactors to support the costs of a fully accessible toilet and a new story-wall children’s library feature that are outside the SCC budget.

Mar 2021

SCC confirm final plans and projected Summer 2021 opening date.