Bristol City Council’s Consultation – again

Bristol City Council are once again running a consultation which includes the future of libraries.

This time, we’ve been given three options, and all are bad. The city has been split into Bristol North West, East and South. As far as Bristol North West goes (which includes Sea Mills), options #1 and #3 are exactly the same. In both cases, we close. In option #2, Sea Mills will remain open, but Henleaze (the most visited library in Bristol outside of central), and Bishopston (which only opened in May 2017), will close. We’re caught in a predicament that we can vote to keep our library, but only if we also vote to close another somewhere else and disadvantage a different group of people.

In all options, Redland (our closest alternative library by train), Shirehampton and Westbury (our closest alternative libraries by road) all lose their funding in Bristol North West, along with Avonmouth and Clifton. It doesn’t matter which option you pick – they won’t be kept open in any of them. Across the rest of the city – the same libraries that were under threat at the last consultation are under threat once more. Wick Road, Horfield and more, all back on the closure list. It can hardly be called a fair consultation if your preferred library closes no matter what you choose?
Westbury has been trialling extended opening hours via swipe card access. Has that been successful? We might never know – and they seemingly lose their funding either way.

We have discovered that you can complete the consultation, choose none of the options, and write in the comments box exactly why you feel it unfair. Will the council read these, and will it make a difference to their plans? We don’t know, but we urge you to complete it and make your comments known.

There are fact sheets, more information about the consultation and a link to take part on the council’s website here:

It runs until 5th September 2017.

You can see all three option maps at this link on our facebook page:

We would encourage everyone to contact their local councillor with your concerns. You can find details of all Bristol councillors on this page:

Stephen is running another paper petition as well, which you can find at various places around Sea Mills including the Cafe on the Square, McColls, Collistear beauty and hair salons. If you’re not aware of Stephen’s former petition work, he’s a school pupil and Sea Mills resident, who in 2015 when we were last earmarked for closure, got more signatures than any of the councillors or our MP, and presented his petition in-person to the then-mayor George Ferguson.

There is further discussion on the consultation ongoing on our facebook page: so please do get involved there. Recent concerns on Facebook are how residents of Sea Mills are supposed to get to the alternative remaining libraries? Given Bristol’s enormous problems with congestion, the council would presumably rather people didn’t drive, but there are not suitable bus links for this purpose. Those without cars can look forward to lengthy walks at both end of their journey, meaning they may be unable to go at all during the week.

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Improvements to outside of library

FSML have been working with Tracy Edwards-Brown from the council’s Neighbourhood Partnership team to improve the outside of the library. We met in the spring to discuss ideas and suggestions for improving the tired appearance of the library. Tracy arranged for the community pay back team to paint the metal railings and steps in the summer of 2016.

The black paint for the railings was kindly donated by Avonmouth Paint Supplies. The specialist non-slip white paint for the steps was purchased by FSML, along with brushes etc from the donations received at our monthly community coffee mornings; which take place on the third Saturday of each month in the library.

Tracy also organised for 2 lovely flower tubs to be installed by the council on the railings in July. In addition Library Services replaced the temporary banner with a new permanent sign all adding to the improvements to the outside of the library.

The new flower tubs.

The new flower tubs.

April 2015- Before improvements

April 2015 – Before improvements


July 2016 – New signs, new flower tubs, painted railings


July 2016 – Before steps repainted

August 2015 - After steps and railings repainted

August 2016 – After steps repainted

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The Opening Hours Consultation is Now Open!

The third stage of the library consultation is now open. (I know – I didn’t know there was going to be a third stage either!)

The questions this time are very simple. You get to choose between two different opening time patterns, and pick whether you would prefer Saturday or Sunday opening.

It is also as unfair as some sections of the previous consultation stages. You get different hours depending on which library you pick. Westbury-on-Trym and Redland get an evening opening option no matter which they choose, (although not necessarily as convenient as being the same evening they currently open). For all of the other ‘group 3’ libraries, sadly there is no option that goes past 5pm.

Please complete the survey here:

The deadline is the 24th October 2015.

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Volunteers Required for Libraries

The council have now started to actively ask for volunteers to help out with libraries. From November 2015, they will be offering volunteering opportunities. You can register your interest at

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Consultation phase 2 – report

Phase 2 of Bristol’s libraries consultation finished a little while ago now. The council have now produced a report about it, which you can read here:

It’s in several parts, and with some lengthy documents, but does include a lot of graphs, breakdowns of some statistics per library, and some choice quotes of exactly what respondents said about each library. There’s also a document of press clippings here, which features letters sent to the Mayor from all ages/classes of society, as well as scans of local newspapers, websites, Facebook groups, and more. It shows just how big a campaign it was across Bristol, and I think Friends of Sea Mills Library can be proud of the level of engagement shown with the council on behalf of our library.

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