Press Release: Business as usual for Bungay Library volunteers

Despite Suffolk County Councils threat to close Bungay Library, Sustainable Bungay are working to complete the community garden.

Over the last year a group from Sustainable Bungay have been working to transform the courtyard at Bungay Library into a community garden. During that time volunteers have committed hundreds of hours of unpaid time, library users have donated money to buy plants and pay for building work and skilled craftsmen and women have given their time and advice for free. A working group met last weekend to install the final bit of hard landscaping, a beautiful hazel screen made by Katherine Thistlethwayte. However, the day was overshadowed by talk of SCCs consultation on the future of the library.

On Tuesday night Sustainable Bungay’s steering group met to discuss the SCC library consultation. The group voted unanimously to give no ground to SCC; to reject outright the presumption that the library has to be run by a community group or face closure, to contest the 30% cut as arbitrary and ideological and to offer no opportunity for the County Council to interpret their concern for the future of the library as a willingness to run it.

Group member Mark Watson said;

‘Our library is visited by everyone, the poor, the rich, the lonely, families, the old, the young, the unemployed using the computers to seek work. Our libraries are for everyone. They are part of the public good, and they work because they are run by professional and experienced librarians.’

Sustainable Bungay is concerned that a ‘divested’ library in the hands of volunteers would be a poorer and more vulnerable service than that currently run and funded by SCC.

Josiah Meldrum said;

‘The word ‘voluntary’ implies you can turn up to ‘work’ or not as you see fit. It’s not your livelihood, so unless you’re utterly committed and treat it as a real job, you’ll be doing it for other reasons, which may be noble but won’t be professional. It is not the same focus. And it won’t be the same library.’

At least a dozen other groups regularly use the library – for everything from sewing and calligraphy classes to reading groups for all ages. Sustainable Bungay is asking them and individual library users to get in touch so those interested in saving the library can unite to campaign. Sustainable Bungay can be contacted at or through the library and there is more information on their website:

Notes for Editors:

For more information about Sustainable Bungay please contact Charlotte Du Cann Email:

Founded in 2008 Sustainable Bungay is a community-led response to the triple crunch of climate change, peak resources and the economic crisis. We’re part of the Transition Network [] and believe that the best way to effect positive change for sustainability is through community activities – from bee-keeping to bottling.

For more about Sustainable Bungay, including more photos of the garden, visit


Header, working party with new hazel screen. Below, Bench with log insect habitat and markers / emerging spring bulbs planted by pupils from Bungay Primary School with Sustainable Bungay.