Places of Welcome (POW) was launched at Burntwood Libray in January. The event was hosted by the Friends of Burntwood library and was supported by the chairman of Burntwood Town Council and the local PCSO. More than 30 people attended enjoying a chat over a cup of tea and some also experienced a relaxing hand massage from the Ladies from the local Lions club.

So What?

This helps establish Burtnwood library as a Community meeting place, raising the profile of the library. It demonstrates the added value that volunteers can bring to the service and shows partnesrship working.

Reversing the Charges – A Novel Idea

Shenstone Community Library Association (SCLA) has now been delivering the library service at Shenstone CML for 20 months. Their latest venture is to turn the derelict phone box on the Birmingham Road in Shenstone in to a little free Phone Box Library. All the books in the phone box library will be supplied via donations so local people are being asked if they have any books lying around at home that they would like to donate so that SCLA can get the ball rolling.

So What?

By showcasing more books in a prominent place in the village, this idea will help to promote the Community Managed Library.

Brian Mate Book Launch at Blythe Bridge Community Managed Library

Following on from the huge success of the Local Author ‘Roots’ Festival, Chairperson, Helen Bickerton invited local author, Brian Mate to launch his book at The Blythe Centre. ‘A Sporting Prodigy – The Sporting Misadventures of an 80 Something Potteries Lad,’ is a unique and funny book from Cox Publishing.

So What?

This is excellent publicity for the Blythe Centre. The event was promoted on Facebook, Twitter and the author and publisher were invited onto BBC Radio Stoke! Blythe really do support the local community, the Tweet from Cox Publishing sums it up nicely, ‘And what a priceless gem the @blythe_centre is for its community and beyond – so much more than just a library!’

Werrington Knit and Natter Group Nominated for Moorland Heroes Award

Werrington Community Managed Library ‘s Knit and Natter Group meet every Wednesday in the library, knitting for the Neonatal Ward at the Royal Stoke Hospital. They have raised over £150 for the library and also support Scotties Little Soldiers, a charity that helps children whose parents have died whilst serving in the armed forces. Diane Clowes, who nominated the group says ‘my father died three years ago and the Knit and Natter had just started up. Without this group I don’t know where we would be, they have been my mum’s lifeline. I can’t thank them enough, the ladies that lead the group will never know just how much they mean to my mum.’ Photograph courtesy of The Leek Post and Times.

So What?

The Leek Post and Times are running the Award and the winners will be revealed at a glittering Awards Ceremony at Alton Towers at the end of the month. The group really do deserve their nomination and coverage in the Newspaper. Being nominated is a formal recognition of their support and strength that they give to members of the community. Fingers crossed!

Fantastic Feedback

It’s been 2 years since the launch of Kinver Community Library and never ones to sit on their laurels, the volunteers decided to ask their customers what they really thought. A customer questionnaire was devised and made available in the library for a number of months throughout 2018. With opportunity to make suggestions, the volunteers were happy to take on board any feedback and will be reviewing any new ideas, including various new activities.

So What?

With over 25 responses, the overall feedback was extremely positive. Here’s just a small selection

  • “A wonderful and vital service provided to the community”

  • “The library has a lively atmosphere now. It’s a pleasure to come to browse or chat. Thank you for running it so well and being so friendly”

  • “Thanks to all the volunteers – well done!”

As always, the volunteers have been really proactive in their approach to delivering the library service and can now streamline and tailor suggestions and ideas to meet the needs of their community.

Linking with Schools Liaison

After establishing the Library Operational Group (LOG) at Kinver Community Library last year, various sub committees are now evolving. LOG was originally set up to encourage those who want take a more active role in the delivery and planning of the daily service and as a result, the Schools Liaison Group has now come together. The group aims to forge good relationships with the local schools, to facilitate class visits and showcase what the library has to offer by supporting campaigns like the Summer Reading Challenge, the Young Teen Fiction award and World Book Day.

So What?

Now volunteers who have an interest in a particular area have the opportunity to come forward to have more input. This spreads the workload, allowing everyone to share ideas and creates a more consistent and cohesive approach through team working. After attending their first meeting, Community support Officer Lisa Dyke was able to support the ideas that came forward, share experiences and resources and feed into a well organised plan of action.

Congratulations on Community Impact

Brewood Community Managed Library were the proud winners of the Community Impact award at the South Staffordshire Volunteer Awards held in December last year. The event, organised by Support Staffordshire, South Staffordshire Council and SCVYS, aimed to publicly recognise the hard work and support that volunteers give to the local community in a variety of categories.

So What?

It’s great to see volunteers acknowledged for their continued efforts and enthusiasm, in particular for the impact they have on the local community. Brewood Community Managed Library have connections with schools and nurseries, offering regular class visits and have introduced new activities, including weekly Mindfulness sessions and children’s coding workshops. The volunteers have all had to learn new skills, demonstrating great commitment in delivering such a valuable service and their award is in pride of place on display in the library for all to see.

‘Libraries Live’ at Glascote

The Libraries Live project continues to go from strength to strength at Glascote Community Managed Library. This Three Counties Arts Project has enabled the library to work with performance artist Becky Salt from the New Vic Theatre, who has been delivering performance sessions with children aged 3 to 5 years at the local Oakhill Primary School and Pre-School Centre. The children have been really enjoying the sessions and as a direct result of Oakhill have now arranged regular school visits to the library.

So What?

The Libraries Live project is helping 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 has also enabled volunteers and staff from across the 3 counties to chare experiences and network – sharing good over and above the project.

Volunteer Voices

Several of our younger volunteers in our Community Managed Libraries have recently recorded filmed interviews with our some of our colleagues from Staffordshire County Council to promote the value of volunteering to the younger demographic. We currently have hundreds of volunteers in our CMLs across the county but the value to younger people is often overlooked.

The videos can be found here.

So What?

Volunteering can be hugely beneficial to people of all ages and for many different reasons, but for young people it can offer really important life experience, as well as being a very valuable addition for a CV.

Purrfect Reading

Maisie, a young book lover set herself a challenge to complete a sponsored read to raise funds for Ashmore Rescue for Cats, a small rescue centre for cats and kittens based in Wolverhampton.

Maisie’s challenge was to read 30 books in 30 days. As she is a cat lover it seemed fitting that the books should also have a cat theme and where else but the local library to resource these books. In a previous role Community Support Officer Cathy Attwood had been a children’s librarian so was only too happy to support Maisie by using my knowledge of children’s books to request extra books from across Staffordshire libraries to ensure that she had a good range of titles to choose from. Maisie successfully completed her challenge and even discovered a new author that she likes.


So What?

This supports reader development and reading for pleasure which are key library aims. It also helped boost Maisie’s confidence both as a reader and fund raiser.