This is the first blog update following a very busy summer. The Team have successfully transferred a further 5 libraries to community management, which brings the total number of Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire to 27. We’re really pleased that of the 27 Libraries moved forward into community management, all are staffed by volunteers and delivering Library services to their respective communities.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all the partner organisations who are supporting the network of Community Managed Libraries across Staffordshire.
We have also said goodbye to one of the Team of Community Support Officers. Cathy Attwood retired in June 2019. Her workload has been divided up amongst the remaining Team.
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Community Managed Libraries win National Award
MPFT in partnership with Staffordshire County Council have won a HSJ Award at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 7/11/19. The Community Managed Libraries project had been shortlisted in the Health and Local Government Partnership Award along with nine other nominees.
The HSJ Awards are the biggest and most prestigious awards for the NHS Sector in the Country.
This is fantastic for everyone involved in project to be recognised nationally for all the hard work that they have put in
Following the award of the contract, members of the Rotary and the Community Support Officer visited local groups and carried out promotional events to recruit volunteers. This had a fantastic response from the local community and has resulted in a strong team of 53 volunteers supporting the delivery of the library service in Eccleshall. A training programme followed, and the library opened as a community managed library on 12 August.
The Rotary group already have many ideas of how they would like to see the service develop, and what the building could be used for, and are involving the volunteers and local people in shaping these ideas.
The transfer of Eccleshall Library means that there are now 27 community libraries in Staffordshire, with 3 of those libraries being run by Rotary groups. Staffordshire Library Service is looking forward to working with the Rotary over the coming years and helping to develop the service with them for the Eccleshall community.
The Cheadle Community and Information Resource Group (CCIRG) have held the reins at Cheadle Library since 12th July. They have smashed the targets for the number of children to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge whilst learning the new computer system at the same time. The group is newly formed, made up from a number of dedicated individuals and some original members of the Cheadle Discovery Group. Library Community Support Officer (CSO) Michelle Jackson, has been really impressed how the volunteers have put the library first in their busy lives and thrived in a very busy library in the first few weeks. “The volunteers have shown real dedication and determination to provide the public with professional service and a friendly face.” The group have already organised an Exhibition entitled ‘Rocks, Minerals and Quarries’ starting on Oct 12th. Wasting no time, the Group were keen to invite author, Karen McCreedy, whose roots are firmly in Cheadle, to a book launch at the library on Sat Oct 9th.
The Group have made a fantastic start, not only in getting to grips with running the library but have begun planning for the future with events already underway and press already in the local paper, The Cheadle Post and Times.
After months of community engagement, followed by a programme of intensive training, Penkridge Community Managed Library opened its doors on 12th August becoming the 27th Community Managed Library in Staffordshire. Supported by partner organisation Penkridge Parish Council and 34 enthusiastic volunteers, the first few weeks have been hard work but great fun. Already the volunteers have re-established Baby Bounce and Rhyme for pre-schoolers, hosted a MacMillan Coffee Morning raising over £180 and launched new ‘Pets As Therapy’ sessions that take place every Saturday morning.
The enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers is already shining through and SCC look forward to supporting them and Penkridge Parish Council in a successful partnership with this exciting new phase of the library.
BES have been doing a great job managing Silverdale Community Managed Library since January 2017. Due to the close proximity of Clayton to Silverdale and the potential in the library they decided to look into managing the library.
Volunteer recruitment begin in February 2019, and the first volunteers who came forward had the opportunity to train alongside existing volunteers at Silverdale Community Managed Library. Further training at Clayton began in late May and the library officially transferred to community management on 1/7/19.
Volunteer recruitment and training has continued and we currently have 34 volunteers regularly volunteering at the library.
It is great to see a partner organisation who have had success managing a Community Managed Library taking on a second library to do the same there.
The Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix officially took over Cheslyn Hay Community Managed Library (CML) on July 29th. With 18 Library Volunteers already on board, and a dedicated and enthusiastic team from the Rotary Club, the future looks set for the library. Many ideas for events and activities are already being discussed and the Rotary are keen to make a big success of the project.
Cheslyn Hay CML is one of the last the of planned transitions from an SCC Library to a CML. This project, already underway for 4 years, has been a big success, with no closures of any libraries and the successful transfer of 27 libraries in to community management. SCC look forward to a long and successful partnership with the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix.
Together with 2 Stock, Services and Activities Officers, Community Support Officer – Helen Farr, recently delivered 3 training courses for library staff and volunteers called Books are our Business. The training covered how to improve confidence when working with stock, how to showcase and promote our stock and how to engage with our customers about books and reading.
Almost 50 staff and volunteers attended the sessions, which were an opportunity to find out best practice, have a go at doing displays, share ideas and to network with colleagues from other libraries.
The feedback was really positive, with attendees enjoying the opportunity to meet each other and find out more about the subject of stock management and promotion. Here are some of the comments they made:
“Looking at displays in a new light! Really interesting and informative morning. Thanks.”
“Good, well balanced between sharing information and activities. Really useful to meet others working in local libraries.”
“Very inspiring and picked up lots of ideas. Thanks for organising and presenting so well.”
“It was a very informative session to learn more about displays and starting conversations with customers – really enjoyed.”
When there are libraries to transfer to community management, the team of 5 Community Support Officers work together to make sure that volunteers are recruited, trained and supported.
This month Community Support Officer, Helen Farr, has been helping to recruit and train volunteers in the Clayton and Cheadle area, whilst colleagues have been helping her with the recruitment process in Eccleshall.
Working together ensures that there is enough support for the library to successfully transfer to community management, which has been demonstrated by the 27 libraries that are now operational as community managed libraries, with confident committees and volunteers.
Library volunteer Bob from Heath Hayes Community Managed Library recognises the personal benefits of walking and has started a regular walking group that sets off and finishes with a cup of tea at the library.
A gentle walk around Heath Hayes, the group of 8 walkers, is very social, enjoying the fresh air and local views with lots of chat.
One volunteer who was so very quiet, suffers from depression and finds interaction difficult. When on the walk she has become more engaged, relaxed and participates in the conversation.
A simple idea with great benefits; healthy gentle exercise, being outdoors and enjoying the countryside, making friends and appreciating the company of others.