Never too old to enjoy a Book

Whilst meeting with a new volunteer her young grandson was keen to share this story.

“I think that my great, great auntie Freda is among the oldest members of the library, she is 94.

She used the Cheslyn Hay library before it moved and took a computer course at the library in 2010 which helped her understand all of the gadgets of the 21st century.

To this day she still uses it for audio books and enjoys every single one of them.

The library isn’t just a building it’s a part of the community.”                                

Liam age 12

I recognised the lady that he was referring to, regularly coming in to collect these audio books, she can tell you about the stories and which ones she has enjoyed and if not why. She is very appreciative of the service; it makes a big difference to combating loneliness and keeping her engaged. It is great that Liam recognised and wanted to share this story, so “thank you” to him for taking time to email it to me. This demonstrates the value of the library across the generations.

Loggerheads to Become a Dementia Friendly Community

Loggerheads Community Library & Information Hub, in partnership with Newcastle Rural Locality Action Partnership are coordinating initiatives to work towards the area becoming recognised as a Dementia Friendly Community with an Action Plan that has been approved by the national Dementia Action Alliance (DAA). A number of partners are involved in the project, including Ashley Surgery and Patient Participation Group, Loggerheads Parish Council and Newcastle Borough Council, and sits under the umbrella of the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent DAA.

Local businesses and organisations in Loggerheads have been written to, and a number have responded positively, in addition to those that are already on board at a regional or national level.

Dementia Friends Awareness sessions are planned for June 2018 to take place in the Loggerheads Community Library & Information Hub, as well as opportunities for people in the area to become Dementia Friends Champions

So What?

This is a very positive initiative within the locality of Loggerheads, and an initiative that the Community Managed Library in Loggerheads is deeply involved in. It highlights again, the importance that libraries have in the communities that they sit.

Newcastle Employability and Skills Group (NESG)

Matthew Howard, Community Support Officer for the Newcastle under Lyme library cluster regularly attends and contributes to the Newcastle Employability and Skills Group (NESG) meeting.

This is a meeting hosted by Newcastle under Lyme College, and is supported by the attendance of a number of partner organisations, including Business Enterprise Support, Support Staffordshire, Job Centre Plus, Newcastle Borough Council.

During the meeting we discuss and develop ideas to promote employability in the North Staffordshire and facilitate positive outcomes for individuals looking for employment.

So What?

This is one of many ways that demonstrate how the library service can work with partners to gain a positive outcome for members of the communities of Staffordshire. In this particular case we are raising the aspirations of individuals and helping individuals to find paid work.

Knutton St Mary’s Community Managed Library

Knutton St Mary’s Community Managed Library has welcomed Thomas Brittain as a School and Community Librarian.

Thomas has been employed by Knutton St Mary’s C of E Primary Academy to develop the library service within the school and the library and it’s services into the community.

Thomas was previously a volunteer at Blythe Bridge Community Managed Library and hopes to use the experience there to develop the service in the community of Knutton.

So What?

This is an excellent example of an organisation who manage a Community managed Library looking to develop a service that will support the local community.

Blythe’s First Music Event – Truth and Tall Tales

Blythe Community Managed Library hosted its first ever music event on Saturday 10th March. Kel Elliot and Her 3 Man Orchestra raised the roof at Blythe with their up-lifting bluesy jazz. Kel leads the quartet, and is a singer-songwriter with a powerful voice. Her infectious and upbeat songs have wowed audiences from Ireland to Finland and have even attracted attention from award winning jazz artist, Jamie Cullum.

So What?

Blythe has been offering a wide variety of exciting events to tempt newcomers to the library and this latest offering promises to be a real hit and very entertaining. The Library can also showcase itself as a potential venue for hire too!


Surprise, Surprise – Mary spots her father in the Newspaper

You may remember in the last edition that our Local History Volunteer, Sue Barrett, has launched an appeal in the local paper, The Cheadle and Tean Times & Echo. 70 year old, Mary Nutt, immediately recognised a photograph of her father, pictured as a young boy, with a cornet, wearing a medal on his lapel. Mary was delighted as she had never seen the photograph before, Thankfully Sue had saved the old photographs from being thrown into a skip. Sue thinks the photographs are all linked to Cheadle’s first professional photographer, Jacob Lowndes. She has created a folder at Cheadle Library to display all the mystery photographs for people to come and have a look through.

So What?

Mary Nutt is thrilled with the photograph and can’t thank the volunteer, Sue, enough for all the hard work she has put into the photo appeal. The photographs have generated a lot of new visitors to the library, who have been surprised at the range of stock and information held about Cheadle. A little bit of history about the area is being revealed and returned to the local families too. The Local press have been particularly supportive of the library and its appeal, great publicity for the Library!

Staffordshire Libraries Join the Dementia Action Alliance

I attend the Stafford Dementia Action Alliance Group (DAA), which aims to make Stafford and surrounds a dementia friendly area. From these meetings, I was able to find out more about the DAA nationally and, as a result, Staffordshire Libraries has now signed up to be a member of this national social movement.

Our commitment to this involves having an action plan which demonstrates how we are going to make our services more dementia friendly.

So What?

The number of people living with dementia is predicted to rise, so it’s important for libraries to consider how we can support people affected by dementia to continue to access our service.

One of the aims in the action plan was to organise Dementia Friends Training for the volunteers at Rising Brook, Holmcroft and Baswich Community Libraries, which has now been achieved, with the final session for Baswich Community Library taking place in January!

New Volunteers and New Events at Baswich Community Library!

Four new volunteers have been recruited at Baswich Community Managed Library and they have set up, and are running, new events at the library.

There is now a Chinese Storytime every Thursday during term time from 3.45 until 4.15pm, for children to listen to Chinese stories and learn the basic language.

So What?

This session extends the range of activities being offered at the library to the local community, whilst enabling children to learn a new language and find out about Chinese culture. It’s great to see that it is already proving popular with about 14 children attending the session.