Spotlight on Mikey – Young Volunteer

16 year old Mikey is a fantastic volunteer who has been involved in many library projects for a number of years now and is a regular volunteer at Penkridge and Perton libraries but often travels further afield to help out. Initially a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer, Mikey has supported Young Teen Fiction events, Perton Astronomy Group, the Books Unlocked project and the ‘Tolkien in Staffordshire’ project. He has also contributed by devising and delivering craft activities and K’Nex workshops and creating displays, and is always ready to accept new challenges.

So What?

Volunteering in the library has allowed Mikey to develop his own skills and experiences and given him confidence, being able to work with people of all ages. He recently won the ‘Young Volunteer’ award at the South Staffordshire Community Action (SSCVA) celebration event for his outstanding contribution and for being a great advocate for libraries.

Photos show Mikey receiving his award and getting ready for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017

Rising Brook Library has a birthday party!

On Saturday 10 June, Rising Brook Library celebrated its 60th birthday and also its 1 year anniversary as a community managed library!

The library volunteers were joined by over 65 invited guests and members of the public, which included MP Jeremy Lefroy, and library customers, including one of the oldest and youngest customers of the library! There were special displays of the library through its 60 years and compliments that customers had made about the library, speeches by Martin Young – Senior Minister at Rising Brook Baptist Church, Catherine Mann – Libraries and Arts Manager and Viv Evans – Project Lead, followed by a lovely buffet.

The event also made the Staffordshire Newsletter

So What?

Inviting guests and local people to an event, and achieving coverage in the local newspaper, raises the profile of the library and the part it plays in the local community. It was really lovely to see so many people come to support this event, to talk about what the library means to them and their families, and to hear how much the volunteers are enjoying their role at the library.


The first Customer Service for Library Volunteers accreditation for the Cannock cluster of libraries has been received by Nathan Pitcher volunteer at Great Wyrley community library.

Staffordshire libraries together with Staffordshire Adult and Community Learning (ACL) Service offer volunteers the opportunity to gain this qualification; an Open College Network West Midlands Level 1 Award in Employability and Development Skills.

Nathan who is job searching was already volunteering at the library when he decided to complete the course to enhance his CV. He contributed many more than the 30 hours of library volunteering necessary and completed the course through online learning supported by an ACL tutor

Nathan said “I enjoyed doing the course, the fact that it was online made it was very accessible and flexible for me, the certificate will add to my work folder”

Nathan is currently on a work placement, here’s hoping that this qualification will help him secure a job.

So What?

Library volunteering is a positive experience supporting learning and personal progression with key links to support community members into employment.

This also demonstrates the value of online learning.

South Staffs Celebration Event

Part of my role as Community Support Officer is to be involved locally so when South Staffordshire Community Action (SSCVA) hosted a celebration event for community groups and local organisations to recognise the tremendous work volunteers do, I went along with a display to showcase all our library volunteers.

So What?

It’s really important to recognise the contribution our volunteers make so I put forward all the volunteers from Brewood Community Managed Library and Kinver Community Library to be represented on the ‘Volunteer Recognition Tree’ and also nominated 2 volunteers (Mikey and Doug) from County Managed Libraries for awards to say ‘thank you’ for giving their time and commitment in delivering library services. It was great to see so many attending the event, to find out what else is happening across the district and to meet and share experiences with other organisations.

Photos show my display and the ‘Volunteer recognition Tree’

3 in 1 Day Brian Tops the Charts

Brian, Library Manager, at Werrington Community Managed Library deserves a special mention! Brian came along to the Leek Library Volunteer Week Celebration to receive his award from me, the Community Support Officer for Staff County Council. Brian was then surprised by Kathryn Bentham, Locality and Social Action Officer from Support Staffordshire in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Brian can be seen with Ryn collecting his certificate of commendation at the Nicholson Institute in Leek. I was really pleased that Brian won this as I had nominated him as he has been such a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer, he really deserved this recognition.

In the afternoon, at the Big Community Conversation event hosted by CHAD (Centre for Health and Development), Brian received his Community Champion Award, complete with gold star pin, or Sheriffs Badge as he likes to call it. Staffordshire Libraries manned a stall and it was good to be involved in the day, taking part in celebrating the excellent work volunteers do for the community. Brian will hopefully remember the 7th June 2017 with a sense of pride and achievement. I am glad that I was part of the process and was able to make that happen for Brian! One of the nicer aspects of the job!

So What?

Taking time away from the day job is sometimes difficult when there are deadlines to meet however recognising the passion and dedication is just as important. Rewarding volunteers is tricky, sometimes people say they do not want a fuss but a thank you does go along way. It makes everyone feel good and appreciated.

Staffordshire University Big Community Conversation

During National Volunteers’ Week 2017 the Libraries Community Capacity Team along with some volunteers, attended the 1000 Lives and CHAD (Centre for Health and Development) Big Community Conversation event at Staffordshire University. We took along a stand and display boards with a large number photographs highlighting the fabulous impact that the volunteers are having in Staffordshire Community Managed Libraries.

A fabulous afternoon and evening was had celebrating the success of the Community Managed Libraries across Staffordshire, as well as saying a big thank you to volunteers in all libraries. It was good to talk to volunteers and representatives from other organisations to share experiences.

So What?

It was great to showcase at a county wide event the fantastic impact that volunteers are having on the libraries that they volunteer in and the communities that they serve. A number of volunteers were nominated for and won the 1000 Lives Community Champion Award. This was a fabulous way for volunteers to be rewarded.

The official opening of Shenstone Community Managed Library

The official launch of Shenstone Community Managed Library took place on Saturday June 17th 2017, with over 100 people attending. Volunteers from the Library Community Group were joined by library staff and members of the local community, with special guests including author Fiona Joseph and MP Christopher Pincher. The event not only marked the re-launch of the library, but also the opening of the new library café. It was a great day.

So What?

The hard work of the community group who have taking over the running of the library has been rewarded with this wonderful launch event. Many of those present commented on the atmosphere of the venue as a real ‘Community Library’ and the engagement of local people was inspiring.

Spotlight on Doug – Digital Champion

After retiring just over a year ago Doug became an IT Buddy at Perton Library, giving his time every week to offer one to one support to people of all ages with varying abilities to get online. Since Easter Doug has also become part of a new team with library staff and another volunteer to deliver weekly Code Club sessions to home educated children. He embraced this challenge by learning the new skills needed with great enthusiasm.

So What?

Doug says “I’ve been volunteering at the library for about a year as an IT Buddy. At first I thought it was a strange name but now I think it’s perfectly appropriate. It has been very enjoyable to help out in a friendly and relaxed environment.”

Doug has helped countless people in this time and was also recognised recently at the South Staffordshire Community Action (SSCVA) event by winning the ‘Digital Champion’ award as he has become an integral part of the team at Perton Library, helping to enhance services and is a great example of people helping people

Photos show Doug in his IT Buddy role and receiving his award

Barton Library hosts a Teddy Bear’s Sleepover

On Friday June 16th 2017 Barton Library held a Teddy Bear’s Sleepover at the library, with children from the local area leaving their teddy bears at the library overnight. Organised by the Library Volunteers, the event tied in with Barton Gardens Festival, which traditionally includes teddy rides and bungee jumping at different venues in the village. 248 people visited the library on the day, and 60 teddy bears slept at the library overnight!

So What?

By becoming part of a long running family based event in the village, the Library Volunteers have helped to promote the library as a community hub, engaging in a range of events and activities for all ages within the local community.

Baby Bounce and Rhyme Bid Secures £450

Uttoxeter Library has just secured £450 to support its Baby Bounce and Rhyme group. Volunteer Maria Aubrey has been running the sessions since September last year, its grown so popular that Maria has had to apply for funding from Heath Big Local to support the growing numbers and buy more equipment. Our staff at Uttoxeter and the Stock, Service and Activities Officer, Tracy Howard provided support – to make the bid a winner! I visited the session to give away the Booktstart books ‘Every bunny dance’. Orianthi Gallimore, seen in orange, enjoys coming to the free sessions every week. Freddie and Dougie Salt can be seen enjoying their Bookstart giveaways!

So What?

Maria delivers a quality friendly session free for the family every week during term time. Without her the library would not be able to offer Baby Bounce and Rhyme – a fun way to introduce babies to words, stories, books and not forgetting the library. Numbers have grown and Maria regularly has 15-18 mum/dads or grandparents coming along. We have had to move the session into the big meeting room now!