Cheadle Arts Festival Takes Shape in the Library

The attachment shows (reproduced with kind permission from the Cheadle Times and Echo Newspaper) plans are way ahead for this years Cheadle Arts Festival due to take place in June. Members of the Committee have been offering Drop In days at Cheadle Library where creative people in the community can register their interest and support. The focus of the High Street is to showcase the activities of local groups with the aim of uncovering personal stories to encourage more people to take up creative activities.

MJ Blog 2 CheadleArtsFestivalCommittee

So What?

The Group acknowledges it’s making use of the Town’s Community Library by making use of its space to liaise with artists and groups, “the library is at the heart of the community and we are really grateful to the trustees for giving their support to the Arts Festival.” This is great publicity for the library, will encourage more people to visit and develops its local connections even further.

Biddulph Local People’s Project Newsletter

The Biddulph Local People’s Project have produced a Newsletter, their first one in December 2019. The group come together in Biddulph Library to discuss what activities and events they want to see happening and to make improvements in the local area, which is Biddulph East Ward. The Newsletter features some poetry from its recent Writers Project, focuses on a volunteer meeting the CEO and Program Manager of the People’s Health Trust and promotes a competition for young people to design it’s logo.

So What?

The Group have made a fantastic start, its competition, poetry and events all contribute towards making the Newsletter interesting, informative, fun and very local. The photograph shows 2 members of the group Margaret Jackson (on the left) and Jan Selby, they were also key members of the Library Friends Group. We are very fortunate to have people like them in our community, they are the best advocates for libraries and the work they do.

MJ Blog 3 Everyone Health Checks at Blythe

The Blythe Centre have been working with Everyone Health to offer free health checks in the library. Everyone Health are an organisation that work in partnership with Staffordshire County Council to delivery health advice into local communities. On 28th January 8 members of the public were given the full MOT which is a blood pressure check, BMI, finger prick test to check blood sugars and cholesterol level. Another 5 had a mini-health check which is everything but the blood test. The Website shows the list of venues currently advertising – it would be great to see more libraries offering this free service.

So What?

These checks have been traditionally done in GP Surgeries in the past but funding is available to offer them in the community now. This means it frees up GPs to treat the more serious cases and can be more convenient for the public. It’s a great way to encourage new people to visit and discover what’s in store.

Fantastic Feedback for Penkridge Community Managed Library

Despite transferring only 6 months ago, Volunteers at Penkridge Community Managed Library were keen to see how their customers felt the new delivery of service was going. After designing a quick and easy feedback form, over 10 responses have come back so far, including a lovely ‘Thank you’ card for 2 volunteers in particular.

So What?

The team of volunteers are enthusiastic, committed to providing an excellent service and are already looking for feedback and suggestions to develop further. The responses highlight the overwhelming support for them and here are a few examples of the positive comments received.

  • “Much to my joy, the changeover has been super – you have been wonderful and so helpful”
  • “Friendly and efficient”
  • “You have both (Louise and Sue) been wonderful in helping me find the books and ordering them for me”
  • “Volunteers are doing an excellent job”

Peace Poster Presentation at Norton Canes Community Managed Library

For over 3 decades, Lions Clubs around the globe have been supporting a very special art contest for young people that encourages them to create posters to express their vision of peace through art. When the local Burntwood branch were looking to have a presentation event for posters produced locally, Norton Canes Community Managed Library was the perfect venue. Volunteer coordinator Val liaised with the Lions representative to create a fabulous display of the entries and 8 ‘Lions’, 16 students and 3 teachers from Norton Canes High School came along, with the winners being congratulated by County Councillor Johnny McMahon.

So What?

Fostering great links with other local organisations means that the library is often an obvious choice as a venue for community initiatives and with 125 ‘likes’ on Facebook the event was certainly a ‘roaring’ success.

Spot the Difference

After hearing about something similar in a library in Iceland, Volunteers at Kinver CML decided to implement a colour coded system to arrange the picture books in the Children’s Library. Notoriously difficult to keep in order and to search for, the picture books were put into rough alphabetical order so they could then be divided between the 4 kinder boxes, which are the freestanding multi compartment boxes where we display picture books. Once this was done, large coloured spotty stickers were placed on all the books to denote where they came in the alphabet and which kinder box they needed to be kept in. A key code poster to help volunteers and library users has been created too.

So What?

Volunteers spent less than 2 hours when the library was closed spreading out and rearranging all the picture books. It shows fantastic teamwork and is of great benefit to all the volunteers. The picture books are now easy to keep in relative order and so much easier to look for when requested.

One of the volunteers who helped implement the system says

“It’s superb! It really works and saves so much time searching for books reserved for other libraries”.

New Year’s Resolutions

With the coming of the New Year comes the thousands of resolutions that so many of us make. Thus the last few years have shown us that this is the best time to recruit new volunteers. In the South East of the county the CMLs at Barton, Glascote, Shenstone and Wilnecote have already recruited 8 new volunteers between them in the last month, demonstrating how the thought of volunteering fits in well with the idea of turning over a new leaf!

So What?

For anyone with some time on their hands, wanting to make new friends, or support their local community, volunteering at your local Community Managed Library is a wonderful way of doing this. Why not find out more at

Community Clubs

Glascote Community Managed Library (CML) has had great success in introducing a range of new clubs and groups in recent times. Over the past 4 years the volunteers have been able to launch a Job Club, a Twin’s Group, various craft groups and several others. The latest addition is the library’s new Scrabble Group. This is a really novel idea, as scrabble is such a popular past-time, enjoyed by people of all ages. 10 people attended the first meeting of the Club, which bodes really well for the future! The group runs on the first Friday of each month, 2-4pm.

So What?

It is really important that our CMLs are there for all the community, doing as much as possible to draw in a wide range of local people. In this way our CMLs can become true community hubs. Glascote is doing a wonderful job of achieving this.


Tasty Treats

Shenstone Community Managed Library (CML) continues to have great success with its wonderful coffee shop. Since its installation in the summer of 2017, it has become a firm favourite with many people, both from the village itself and from the surrounding area. A range of drinks and cakes are on offer, and all the feedback received is always excellent. In addition to being a very important village venue it its own right, the coffee shop also brings in much needed revenue to the library.

So What?

Our CML model has been a great success, and some of the innovations that our CMLs have introduced have been a big factor in this. The coffee shop at Shenstone CML is a wonderful example of this and will help the library to thrive for years to come.

Building Support!

One of the key areas that the Community Support Officers support the Community Managed Libraries is in supporting them to manage their library buildings. The range of support varies enormously.

It can be from helping them make sure that all the Health and Safety checks are completed correctly to liaising with colleagues in the property services to ensure that issues with the building have been put right.

We will often be involved in larger projects to do with the buildings as well that may be needed to enhance the service

So What?

The library buildings themselves are an important asset for all the community groups that have taken on the management of the Community Managed Libraries as the space that they offer allow the groups to deliver the great events and services for the local communities.