On Tuesday, 26th February Surrey County Council's Cabinet approved the transfer of the Surrey Performing Arts Library collection to NewSPAL.
This is a hugely important milestone in the 15-month campaign by users and supporters of SPAL to save this wonderful collection and give it a more sustainable long-term future in the charity sector.
The campaign's success is entirely down to the generous and vocal support from many individual and group users of SPAL who have been determined to find a better way forward for SPAL.
The full text of SCC's Cabinet decision is set out below. The report to Cabinet can be found on the SCC website.
What happens next?
NewSPAL and SCC will now work together to plan for the transfer of the collection to NewSPAL (initially by way of a conditional loan). There is a lot which NewSPAL now has to do before that can happen, for example:
(1) agreeing a lease of the new library building in Woking and setting it up;
(2) raising all the money needed to finance the transition (estimated to be about £85,000) as well as to provide a financial cushion (NewSPAL proposed in its business plan a further £40,000) to cover cash-flow and other uncertainties in the early months of operation;
(3) library staff (including a specialist music librarian) have to be appointed;
(4) the proposed new and better IT system has to be bought and set up;
(5) the catalogue of the stock (many thousands of items) has to be re-entered on the new IT system and be fully ready so that when the transfer takes place there will be minimum disruption for users.
NewSPAL will have to be entirely self-financing - SCC will not be providing any financial support - so NewSPAL will also be consulting users about the appropriate subscription levels and hire charges to ensure that these remain as affordable as possible while ensuring that the charity is financially viable.
The Cabinet's Decision
This is what the Cabinet decided: