The Friends of Westbourne Library:

In early 2011, faced with uncertain future for Suffolk’s libraries, the Broomhill Pool Trust helped to establish the Friends of Westbourne Library.

Our two key objectives were:
•     To campaign and lobby Suffolk County Council to retain Westbourne Library
•     To explore alternative models for running the library given a reduced budget, such as a Community Trust.

•     The FWL works very closely with Suffolk County Council. Our input, influence and lobbying has no doubt contributed to Suffolk County Council’s revised policy to retain all Suffolk Libraries and to establish an IPS arrangement. The FWL will continue to play an active role in partnership with the new IPS.
•     We completed a full external and internal make-over of Westbourne Library, returning the building to its original 1942 white coat. A new power point projector and meeting area has been set up for community use.
•     “Broomhill” was an important ward in Ipswich until 2001. Unfortunately when the ward name and boundaries were lost, the area was quickly neglected. The BPT & FWL has worked tirelessly and passionately to restore a sense of pride and localism, and to put Broomhill back on the map!

August 2013

The "Friends" working in partnership with Ipswich Borough Council and Community Payback have been working over the last 12 months to clear overgrown areas of Broomhill Park. This with the addition of new bins in the area has improved the usability and received support from park users and the local community. During the work a park bench dating from the war was uncovered and it is intended to restore this.

We are currently considering applying for money to further enhance the park and would like to hear your views on the park at present and ideas for the future.

Send your views good or bad to for consideration in our bid for some money for the park

November 09th 2012

The Westbourne Library Friends are delighted to announce that Westbourne Library has been awarded a Grade II listing by English Heritage.

The EH Listing stresses the unique group value of the “Broomhill twins”, and further strengthens the seventy year bond between the library (built 1942) and her adjacent sister building, Grade II listed, Broomhill Pool (built 1938).

Garath Jones and Mark Ling from the Westbourne Library Friends said:

“This is a unique accolade for Ipswich and its Broomhill area. It represents an acknowledgement of the area’s extraordinary - and now celebrated - late 1930/early 1940s municipal architecture. 

“Both buildings have served their community for over 70 years both remain immensely practical and are valued by Ipswich residents today.

“Both facilities were designed by County-Borough of Ipswich engineer, E. McLauchlan, in the Modernist style.

·        “Both facilities had a significant role to play during World War 2. Westbourne Library is absolutely unique in being the country’s only library originally built as a bomb-proof, decontamination unit and public shelter. Broomhill lido provided important, moral boosting leisure during WW2 and was also used by the National Fire Service as an emergency source of water to put out incendiary fires in NW Ipswich. The buildings are located in beautiful Broomhill Park, a natural woodland purchased by the County-Borough in 1925 (from the illustrious Sherrington family).

·        “The Westbourne Library Friends would like to thank the Twentieth Century Society for their support in this successful application, and to English Heritage for this prestigious endorsement for our library.

The new listing can be found on

October 14th 2012

Ipswich Mayor to visit Westbourne Library

The Mayor of Ipswich will be visiting Westbourne Library on Wednesday the 17th of October at 11am. The mayor is visiting the library to hear more about the new exciting community project where the library will be going out to schools and community centres to teach both adults and children literacy and numeracy.

Evening Star 10th November 2011

Council reveals how it will keep every library open. Oct 31st

Monday, October 31, 2011
East Anglian Daily Times

ALL 44 of Suffolk’s libraries will remain open and be helped to flourish by a new, slim line and cost-effective organisation, if councillors approve plans put before them next week and then in December.

The proposals would see Suffolk County Council create an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS), an organisation working with, but independent from, the county council to support the county’s library network. The IPS would hold charitable status, be able to benefit from an 80% reduction in property rates and apply for external funding.

It would predominantly be funded by a grant from Suffolk County Council, and use its resources to provide central support to all of Suffolk’s existing, and future, libraries. The new model would cost a maximum of £652k to set up but would be 27.6% cheaper to run than the current arrangement. It would mean library services in Suffolk would cost £6.487m a year, as opposed to their £8.961m running cost in 2010/11, without any library closures.

Much of the savings come from reducing management tiers and central staffing costs which would no longer be needed in the more slim line organisation. Staff currently working in libraries would be transferred into the IPS under TUPE employment rules.

Eventually, every library will have a community group involved and having a direct say in its day to day running. Supported by the IPS, community groups will be able to opt for a level of responsibility they feel able to take on. Seven pilot projects are currently being developed and will, from April 2012, be the first of these arrangements in action. Organisations running local libraries would become members of the IPS and elect its board.

Some of the pilot projects have demonstrated that it would be possible for libraries to raise a small amount of money through activities like fund raising, membership schemes and generating income.

Local library organisations will therefore be asked to contribute just 5% of the direct running costs of their library, £100k a year in total, significantly less than the financial contributions being discussed at the beginning of the year. Through the IPS, the county council would fund 95% of the direct costs of running the libraries.

Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for libraries, said:

“The model we’ve developed will put Suffolk’s library service on a strong and sustainable footing for the future.  It’s fully costed on the basis of keeping the full library network open.

“We want to free the library service from unnecessary council bureaucracy so that it can thrive and move with the times. Giving people a genuine say over how their library is run is also important and this model does exactly that.” Suffolk County Council Cabinet members will also be asked to decide on the future of the county’s mobile library service. The service costs £600k a year to run with six mobile libraries (plus a back up) serving approximately 7,000 people in 361 communities across Suffolk. Over the last decade, mobile library customer visits have reduced by 32% and loans have decreased by 37% - even though customers can borrow up to 20 books at a time.

Following a six week consultation in which 1,237 people shared their views, councillors will be recommended to reduce the frequency of mobile library visits from fortnightly to four weekly and stop visiting towns and parishes that already have a library building serving the community. The majority of people who responded said the changes would not stop them using mobile libraries.

Broomhill News Blog site goes Live... Oct 31st

The launch of an exciting new community blog site has been launched.

Catch up with very local news....

Click here to view or make a contribution

Evening Star 20th October 2011 - Library Makeover

Evening Star 29th September 2011 - Library Paint Job

Listen to a discussion on the future of Ipswich Libraries on ICM fm 28th Sept

Listen to Garath debating the future of Ipswich libraries

A Big Thankyou

We would like to thank everyone who supported our summer fete. 

We had a lot of fun on a lovely sunny day and raised valuable funds for the library.  With the proceeds, we have been able to give the outside of the building a new coat of paint.  This restores it to its post World War II look.  Thanks again.

2011 Broomhill Christmas Fayre in conjunction with Broomhill Pool Trust

On Saturday November 26th, between 12 noon and 4.00 p.m.we will be holding a Christmas fayre in Westrbourne library.

All proceeds will go to support the library and maintain the swimming pool.

We will have a Father Christmas Grotto together with a wide range of atrs, crafts and gift stalls.

More detailed information will be posted here nearer to the date

Statement  from Garath Jones (Chairman FOWL )  & Mark Ling (Charman Broomhill Pool Trust)  5th May 2011
On 28 April 2011, the Friends of Westbourne Library (FWOL) submitted a business plan and financial model to Suffok County Council to outline the FWOL "rescue plan" to save Westbourne Library.
The Friends are confident that our simple plan would achieve its objective to save our library. However, our view is simple, the need to carry out such a plan would be a result of an absolute dereliction of duty by Suffolk County Council; and that our local politicians and council officers will have catastrophically failed their communities.
On 2 May, the East Anglian Daily Times announced that library divestment plans had been "abandoned". Yet, on Radio Suffolk the same day SCC Portfolio Holder, Cllr Judy Terry announced that SCC libraries are set to be run by a "community interest company which will be fully owned by the county council - but will include representatives of communities across Suffolk as well as councillors and officials".
The Friends of Westbourne Library are a pragmatic group and community minded, yet we remain to be convinced as to whether this grand new scheme will withstand any scrutiny or be fit for purpose. Forming a "community interest company" to administer its entire library portfolio for free will require enormous investment of time and goodwill, and unfortunately SCC has done very little to foster goodwill in recent months.

Evening Star 5th May 2011

East Anglian Daily Times Times  2nd May 2011:

Suffolk: County libraries get a late reprieve

By Paul Geater
Local government correspondent, local government correspondent Monday, May 2, 2011
6:00 AM

Controversial county council proposals to stop running its library service have been abandoned, the EADT can reveal.

Suffolk County Council had planned to divest the service and hand over responsibility for running libraries to community groups, parish councils or other organisations.

The plans could have resulted in the closure of 29 community libraries if no groups took over the running of them.

However, due to the strength of feeling across the county, which resulted in a number of demonstrations in towns such as Saxmundham, Leiston and Eye, the county council has made a dramatic U-turn.

It emerged last night that the authority will retain ultimate responsibility for running libraries – although communities will have an opportunity to help run individual branches.

And while there is no guarantee that all branches will be retained, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries Judy Terry said she expected the overwhelming majority to stay open.

She said: “I really hope that all libraries will remain open, ultimately we would like to be able to see new libraries created for communities across the county.”

The libraries are set to be run by a community interest company which will be fully owned by the county council – but will include representatives of communities across Suffolk as well as councillors and officials.

Mrs Terry said this would ensure that the county retained responsibility for providing the library service – but it would enable individual communities to decide what was on offer.

She said: “The review of library services has shown how much they are valued by their communities, but it has also shown that different communities want different things from their libraries and this should allow them to develop in different ways.”

She said that involving communities in the running of the libraries would lead to a reduction in the amount of bureaucracy and should help to make savings needed by the county.

Councillors and officers have been impressed by the strength of feeling seen in towns and communities across Suffolk.

A momentum built up during the county’s three-month consultation period which finished on Saturday, April 30.

Mrs Terry said: “Actually I am glad to see how important people feel their local libraries are.

“When you look at how vocal people have been in places like Saxmundham, Stradbroke and Leiston you realise how valuable their libraries are to them.

“I would much rather have that than a kind of indifference towards the future of library services.”

It was the reaction from market towns and communities across the county that persuaded members of the ruling Conservative group at the county council to abandon the divestment plans.

The threat to library services brought out protesters on to the streets of places which had never seen marches before – and sparked a significant online campaign against the proposals.

It was the strength of these campaigns in what are seen as Conservative heartlands that are believed to have persuaded many county councillors that a change in direction was needed in last month’s group leadership contest.

Mrs Terry emphasised that the proposals that were being drawn up by the council for the future of the library service would not become official policy until they had been approved by the new cabinet. However she had spoken to Mr Bee and interim council leader Jane Storey before outlining the plans.