Ooh the places you’ll go! News of our Kitchen at War Exhibition hits the Never Such Innocence Webpage

Brian Hughes, Library Co-ordinator at Talke Library, has offered to lend his support to the Kitchen at War travelling exhibition, mentioned in our last Blog, when it moves onto Uttoxeter Library.

You may recall Brian was the Library Manager at Werrington Community Managed Library. He has kindly offered his services to help with this exhibition which explores why rationing was introduced during the First World War, how it worked and how families on the home front were encouraged to ‘do their bit’ for the war effort.

Well, Brian being Brian, has managed to promote our travelling exhibition via the Never Such Innocence Twitter Page!

Never Such Innocence is a Worldwide project which gives unique opportunities for children to participate in very special, highly memorable occasions to celebrate their engagement with the centenary of the First World War.

Brian first got involved by reading the Anzac Puppy picture book to the school children during class visits at Werrington Library. Then he was invited to Leek Library, The Nicholson Institute, to talk about the book and project at the School’s Competition Day in 2017. Brian was invited to London to the Guards Chapel for the Annual Awards Ceremony for the competition winner in the same year and again this year as a thank you for his support to the project.

So What?

Brian is a volunteer that keeps on giving! His enthusiasm and support for Libraries is amazing. Volunteers can be the best advocates for Libraries and their network of contacts and dedication means that the Library is promoted on a much wider stage. It is a pleasure for me to see Brian flourish and expand his horizons. You may remember Brian did get 3 awards in one day – now his efforts are being recognised on a National platform. This is a great example of the power of social media too and what it can do for you.

Countywide Contributions

Community Support Officer, Lisa Dyke, sometimes has to contribute to Countywide projects. I recently participated in a small working party to streamline the Library service intranet pages, where colleagues representing all aspects of the service came together to review, remove, update and collate information on our internal webpages.

So What?

It was really useful to see colleagues from other strands of the library service including a Stock Services & Activities Officer, an Operational Manager, a Library Project Officer, a Management Information Co-ordinator and an Administrative Assistant to get a clear overview of what was needed for the service as a whole. After several very productive meetings and some much appreciated help from the IT department, the team worked together to produce a much more user friendly, less cluttered internal network that will be useful for all library staff.

Tapping into a National Water Scheme

Volunteers at Kinver Community Library are always investigating new ways to benefit the community and recently signed up to become the first ‘Refill Station’ in the village. ‘Refill’ is a national campaign that aims to make refilling water bottles as easy, convenient and cheap as possible. Over 10,000 organisations have registered across the country to welcome people to refill their water bottle for free and there’s also an App to show where the nearest ‘Refill Station’ is. Kinver Community Library now proudly display their official sign on the notice board outside to advertise the new service.

So What?

During the recent hot weather this was a most welcome facility, reinforcing the library’s value as a community hub by not only doing their bit for their community but the environment as well. This is also contributing to the Staffordshire County Councils Health and Well Being agenda.

For more information see https://www.refill.org.uk/about-refill/

It Could Be You! Werrington Lottery Winner

The Werrington Community Group of Volunteers are old hands at fund raising. Their lottery has been running for almost 4 years now and its proceeds have gone towards things needed in the community such as the speed camera and planting.

Each month a lucky winner is drawn in public and they will win half of the monies received, they group gain the rest.

The Photograph shows local resident Caitlin Derby pulling out this month’s Lottery Winning number, 57. Caitlin was at the Windmill Restaurant celebrating her 16th birthday when she was asked to do the honours.

So What?

The draw generates lots of publicity and Werrington have benefited from the funds. The process is a relatively simple and does not take up lots of time.

Hi-tech Holiday High Jinks

Both Brewood and Kinver Community Managed Libraries have hosted some very exciting and imaginative activities for children to support the ‘Mischief Makers’ Summer Reading Challenge over the summer holidays. In partnership with Wolverhampton based ‘The School of Coding’, Brewood Community Managed Library hosted a programme of events which saw almost 30 children learning about coding for gaming and electronics, racing robots and enjoying the workings drones and virtual reality. Kinver Community Library also delivered two science based activities including ‘Fantastic Fundamentals: A Journey into Space’ and ‘Mad Science’, with flames galore and was enjoyed by 70 adults and children.

So What?

Volunteers are actively seeking out new activities to try out and have received some fantastic feedback.

  • “These clubs are so much fun and I learn so much every time I come” –coding club event
  • “It’s the most exciting tech club I’ve been to and can’t wait for the next one” – coding club event
  • “Very informative and great fun for both adults and children. Amazing!” – Fantastic Fundamentals event
  • “Fantastic fun – my boy loved it! Really got the children involved” – Mad Science event

Both libraries have not only delivered a varied programme of events, including other craft activities, a pamper party and creative story writing workshops but also supported the Summer Reading challenge with displays and class visits which has led to a combined total of over 220 starters in the first few weeks of the campaign.

Glascote goes from strength to strength

Glascote Community Managed Library continues to thrive with the team of volunteers at the library having now instigated an increase in opening hours. In June of this year the volunteers have introduced Tuesday morning opening at the library, increasing opening hour by 4 hrs up to 35.5 hrs per week. This new session has meant that a new craft group has been started, in addition to an extension of job club support.

Visitor figures for the April- June quarter for 2018 are an impressive 35% up on the same time last year, showing that the Tuesday morning openings are already having a positive effect on the library.

So What?

By increasing the opening hours at the library the volunteers are demonstrating that Glascote CML is a vital community hub, offering local people improved access to the library, more flexibility, and the chance to participate in an even greater number of events and activities.

‘Libraries Live’ at Glascote

Glascote Community Managed Library (CML) delivered by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is about to become part of a fantastic new arts project which will span three counties! The ‘Libraries Live’ project is all about enthusing local people about the arts and at Glascote CML the theme will be theatre and performance, aimed at children and families. At the beginning of the project in September 2018 there will be an ‘Artist in Residence’ at the library, with the idea being that after an 8 week period of events, activities and engagement, local people will be invigorated with a renewed love of the arts. The partner libraries involved are Water Orton CML in Warwickshire and Newbold Verdon CML in Leicestershire.

The library is partnering with the New Vic Theatre to develop the project.

So What?

The Libraries Live project will help to embed Glascote CML as a vital community hub for local people, showcasing the library as a venue where a huge range of diverse events and activities take place.

It will also create partnerships with CMLs in other counties which will help strengthen the CML network locally.

The project also is about asking locally residents about recent changes and recording to ensure the cml can be responsive to their needs.

Carry On Training

Part of the job of the Community Support Officer is regularly training new volunteers at our CMLs. Recently CSO Ian Burley has had new volunteers coming on board at Barton, Glascote, Shenstone and Wilnecote CMLs and has been busy carrying out training for them all. This involves showing the new volunteers how to use our library databases, deal with enquiries and a range of other duties.

So What?

It is vital that all of our volunteers feel supported and valued and the ongoing training that the CSOs deliver is a really important way of demonstrating this.

Roll up, Roll Up, Join Us at the Fayre!

The Summer Fayre at Blythe Bridge Community Managed Library has become a key feature of the season now. This year on Saturday 14th July, there were 14 stalls with lots to offer including crafts, cakes and refreshments. The local First Responders were also on hand demonstrating their skills and showing everyone how to cope in an emergency.

Its not always plain sailing as the Spring one had to be cancelled this this due snow. It was re-arranged and this did not have an impact on the numbers attending.

So What?

The Fayres bring in a regular income through charging for the stalls (£5 a table) and by offering refreshments. The Christmas Fayre was the biggest earner, £307 was raised, some of that was from having a photo taken with Santa!. Over a year the Fayres raise £1,000 and are great for attracting new visitors. It’s not always easy of thinking of fundraising ideas but I think one could be replicated in a number of libraries.

This also highlights the wider community engagement that is happening in Community Managed Libraries

Let’s Talk about Talke!

In the last few months we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of volunteers who have come forward to support Talke Library.

Since June 2018, with active promotion in the local area as well as an increased online presence we saw 32 people express an interest to volunteer at the library.

This has seen the number of volunteers at Talke Library increase from 9 up to 19 volunteers.

So What?

This is a very positive increase in volunteer support at the library, and highlights the importance of the library to the local community and shows their enthusiasm to support the local service.