Twelve Months On

It is now a year since Norton Canes Library transferred to the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust and in partnership with Staffordshire County Council became community library on 6th June 2016

Alongside all the regular library services of books and computer access, the library is making strong community connections; as can been seen in the pictures supporting their display.

There is an impressive list of activities and groups using the library as a venue: Knit and Natter, Reading group, Historical society, Women’s Institute, Get Together craft for adults and Grow up great craft sessions for children, Stay and play nursery group as well as a monthly afternoon tea with an open invite to all.

You’re always sure to receive a warm welcome at Norton Canes Community library, why not pop along and see what’s on offer for yourself.

So What?

The library service at Norton Canes has been sustained without any closure by volunteers freely giving their time, over 300 hrs each month.

They have not only retained but have increased the number of regular activities.

This service wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic team of library volunteers.

National volunteer’s week 1st – 7th June 2017

As part of National volunteers week celebrations some very new volunteers for Cheslyn Hay Library joined with the volunteers from Great Wyrley Library to enjoy tea and cake whilst chatting to find out more about library volunteering from those who have already started.

There is now a team of 14 volunteers at Great Wyrley library and they are building confidence as they start to deliver the service, safe in the knowledge that support from Cannock library is only a phone call away

“It was scary at first; it’s a bit like driving on your own for the first time after passing your driving test”

Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay libraries will be some of the next Staffordshire County Council libraries to move to community management.

Volunteers recruitment and training for volunteers at both libraries is actively taking place if you are interested please contact Cathy Attwood or call 07866 921866 to find out more

So What?

This demonstrates that there is appetite at both libraries to support the move to volunteer delivered library services. It shows the willingness of volunteers to learn something new and give something back to the communities that they live in, helping to keep these communities active and sustain local services.

Summer Reading Challenge Training in Newcastle Community Managed Libraries

With this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, Animal Agents, due to start on 15th July. Staffordshire Libraries Community Support Officer and Stock Services and Activities Officer have visited Audley and Silverdale Community Managed Libraries to make sure the volunteers feel fully prepared for the challenge this year.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national initiative supported by The Reading Agency and delivered in libraries throughout the country. Its aims are to keep children reading for pleasure through the summer, so they return to school in September feeling more confident about their reading.

So What?

The training allowed the volunteers in Community Managed Libraries to feel enthusiastic and fully prepared for the Summer Reading Challenge this year. This will increase the usage of the libraries by young people and families over the summer and raise the profile of the libraries in the community.

Thank You All Volunteers

To celebrate National Volunteers’ Week 2017events were held in a number of Libraries in the Newcastle area.

Starting on 1st June we had a celebration at Audley Community Managed Library where we enjoying coffee and homemade cakes. This was followed up with events the following week at Talke and Newcastle Libraries.

The end of National Volunteers Week on 8th June was celebrated at Silverdale Community Managed Library with a lovely event organised with Business Enterprise Support where we enjoyed coffee and cakes.

So What?

It was lovely to celebrate the successes of all library volunteers who are giving up their time to ensure that the libraries in the Newcastle area can offer the very best service possible to the communities they sit in.

Newcastle Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Forum Marketplace

Support Staffordshire organised and market place event where members of their Newcastle Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Forum can show case their individual organisation’s to the public and to the other organisations present.

I decided to attend with a display highlighting the contribution volunteers have made to Staffordshire Library Service.

So What?

This was an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of the Community Managed Library project locally and to celebrate the successes of the volunteers who make it happen. It also gave the opportunity to network and share best practice with other organisations.

Barton Library First Birthday

Barton Library Celebrates its first birthday as a Community Managed Library

On Thursday May 4th 2017 Barton Library celebrated its first anniversary as a Community Managed Library, run by a team of 28 volunteers, under South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust. Of course the day was a normal day for the library, with library users borrowing and returning books and events being delivered as usual, but various guests popped in during the day to say hello and have a piece of cake.

So What?

The library has carried on delivering the library service to the people of Barton and the surrounding community over the past year, but has also expanded on the services delivered. New innovations have included the introduction of a Home Reader Delivery Service for those people physically unable to get to the library themselves, the introduction of school visits for pupils from the local primary school, and the delivery of Play N Stay sessions for babies and toddlers accompanied by parents and carers, delivered by the volunteers themselves. The library has become a true Community Managed Library.

Glascote Community Managed Library Meeting Rooms

Operating under South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT)Glascote Community Managed Library a range of meeting rooms available for hire. The rooms range from small interview rooms to a large meeting room that can accommodate around 20 people. The library volunteers are always on hand to ensure that visitors are well looked after in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

So What?

The availability of these meeting rooms demonstrates that Glascote Library is playing a vital role as a community hub for the local area.

Refurbishment of Shenstone Community Managed Library

Under the Shenstone Community Library Group, the refurbishment of Shenstone Community Managed Library continues apace. The children’s area has been re-designed, the new café is nearly complete, the kitchen has been totally refurbished, a disabled toilet installed and all the new signage has almost been finished. The library will officially re-open as a Community Managed Library on Saturday June 16th 2017.

So What? 

Around 40 people now volunteer their time in the library and the café, bringing a range of skills and experience with them. The refurbishment of the library and installation of the café will help to ensure that the library becomes a true local community hub serving all the local population for years to come.

Brewood’s’ Best Kept Village’ Campaign

Brewood Community Managed Library is playing its part in the ‘Best Kept Village’ in Staffordshire competition. The competition has been running for 60 years and offers the opportunity for people of all ages and from all walks of life to work together to bring improvements to their village with the common goal of becoming the ‘Best Kept Village’.

The library has become one of the focal points in the village, displaying posters created by local children, maintaining the pots and borders in the library grounds and providing a space for the campaign volunteers to meet. Some of our library volunteers are also generously giving their time to support the Best Kept Village campaign, judging local posters and other villages.

Photos show posters displayed in the library windows, the pots outside the library and the volunteers judging posters in the library.

So What?

Other organisations and local individuals have taken responsibility for the lovely pots and borders promoting social cohesion and increased community involvement.

The competition aims to encourage community spirit by bringing together the whole community and Brewood Community library and the volunteers have certainly contributed to building a resilient community making Staffordshire a great place to live.

Fingers crossed for a positive result in July.


Celebrating County Managed Library Volunteers

As part of my role, I not only support the volunteers in the Community Managed Libraries but also play an active part in recruiting volunteers for our Staffordshire County managed libraries. Since January 2016 I have recruited over 12 volunteers for a variety of roles at Perton, Codsall, Penkridge and Wombourne libraries to support existing volunteers and staff. These have included IT Buddies, a storytime volunteer, shelving helpers, events supporters and a Home Reader volunteer.

But it’s not just about recruiting for established library volunteering roles, it’s also about finding out what interests and expertise our volunteers have so they can inspire and help others. We now have a guitar club leader at Wombourne, and a local history volunteer and code club volunteers at Perton. Often our volunteers will develop into other roles as their confidence grows, so, for example, one volunteer at Penkridge started as an events supporter, progressed to shelf tidying and now is a fully fledged Library Volunteer working alongside staff behind the counter. She also delivers online family history and Ancestry sessions.

The photos show our volunteers from Perton, Penkridge, Codsall and Wombourne coming together at Perton Library for a Volunteer Week celebration where they enjoyed home-made cakes and we said a massive ‘Thank you’ for generously giving their time, energy and expertise.

So What?

One volunteer says “Volunteering allows me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I can meet and work with people of all ages. Lots of books and lots of fun!”

Our volunteers become an integral part of our library teams, make a great difference to our organisation, adding value to our library offer by delivering enhanced services and are a great example of people helping people.