Your Starter Question for 10 – Which CML Recently Held it’s First Quiz Night? Answer – Blythe Centre

 This is the review from the Blythe Newsletter:

“With an audience of nearly 60 members of the community, the Blythe Bridge Rotary put on a very entertaining quiz night.

The 9 rounds consisted of 1 picture round, 4 general knowledge subject rounds and 4 very entertaining music round complete with a mixer deck.  The question masters were Brian Mate with Bill Durose (DJ) managing the Music rounds.

We are pleased to confirm that the Rotary has informed us that the 2 charities were very happy with their donations from the event.

The Centre worked in partnership for this event, providing refreshments on the night.

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So What? 

Raising funds can sometimes be a headache for any organisation but if it’s done in such an enjoyable way with a great group of people at the right venue, it just feels like a great night out! Blythe have received a Thank You card from the Rotarians, its clear the night was a great success. The volunteers are really supporting their community and putting the library on the map.

Morrisons Stall Reaps Rewards at Cheadle

Volunteers and Michelle Jackson, CSO for the newly formed Cheadle Community Information and Resource Group (CCIRG) set up stall at Morrisons in Cheadle on Saturday 23th of March. The Group enjoyed chatting to the customers about the rewards of volunteering and to ask what they what to see happening in the Library. It was a great way for the community to meet members of the group too, thanks Morrisons! 

So What? 

The CCIRG Group received some completed application form on the day. Michelle Jackson has followed up telephone calls from customers on the day and quickly recruited volunteers. Michelle says, “The group were really pleased with the day and I was glad that we had the opportunity to meet so many people. Promoting the library and its activities is a crucial part of my role, as a Community Support Officer and actually one of the most enjoyable.”

Goodbye and Good Luck to Jade at Cheadle Library

Cheadle Library’s Bouncers said a fond farewell to Jade who has been assisting there for a couple of years and who was also a valued member at Newcastle Library for a year, before doing hours at Cheadle.

Jade did her last Baby Bounce, and Rhyme session on Wednesday 10th April. Jade was presented with a Thank You card from two of the children that have enjoyed her regular sessions at Cheadle. A special moment for Jade, those thank yous really do matter. Jade would like to say thank you too and that she will really miss all the families she has got to know and the customers that come into Cheadle.

So What?

Jade has built up a special relationship with the families that attend the Baby Bounce and Rhyme sessions. It’s is very rewarding for staff to receive a Thank You card and demonstrates the how libraries and their staff our really valued. We wish Jade all the best in her new job.

Networking and Nibbles

Kinver Community Managed Library recently played host to the Community Managed Libraries Network meeting. These quarterly meetings offer the opportunity for all volunteer members of committees, boards and trusts who deliver the library service across the County to get together regularly to catch up, share best practice and experiences and raise common issues.

So What?

Twelve representatives from other Community Managed Libraries made their way to the southern- most tip of the County to enjoy a fantastic buffet before getting down to business, which included a presentation from one of the Kinver volunteers about their journey over the last 2 years. This highlighted how the committee and volunteers have come together to develop ideas and instigate new initiatives, with a strong focus on team work. One of the Kinver volunteers said “The meeting today was really enjoyable and made me realise just how far we’ve come and just how much we do. It was good to meet other volunteers as well”.

Bunting Bonanza for World Book Day

World Book Day is the biggest celebration of books and reading that is marked in over 100 countries all over the world and Kinver Community Managed Library made the most of the campaign by inviting every child from the 2 local schools to the library. Volunteers created a fabulous display and children came along over 2 days of class visits to enjoy sessions of stories and crafts, including making World Book Day bunting that now takes pride of place in the children’s area.

So What?

Over 180 children and their teachers visited the library, the children learned all about the library and what’s on offer, inspiring them to go on to develop a love of reading for pleasure. The Saturday following the sessions saw a 40% increase on the quarterly average of Saturday visitors, including many new family members joining the library on the back of the class visits.

Widening the Volunteer Offer

Community Support Officer Lisa Dyke recently went along to a Volunteers Fair held at the Rodbaston Campus of South Staffordshire College to promote our volunteer opportunities further afield. It was a great chance to showcase the different volunteer roles we have and to a new target audience.

So What?

There were lots of other organisations there looking to recruit volunteers and it was really useful to network and share ideas, discussing any possible partnerships plus it gave the opportunity to talk to students and tutors about what libraries have to offer, allowing students to gain new skills and valuable work experience.

Sharing the Message

Over the past 3 years Staffordshire County Council Libraries and Arts Service has worked with partners to recruit over 600 volunteers to deliver the library service in our Community Managed Libraries and well over 200 volunteers to support our staff in our staffed libraries. This has been a fantastic achievement for all concerned and we always try to ensure that we get this message out there in to the wider world. In addition to the use of the local media, social media, talks, displays and general promotion, our team of Community Support Officers regularly give feedback to Local Councillors to make sure that everyone is aware of the latest news.

So What?

Creating a volunteer body to become fully integrated to help with the Libraries and Arts Service delivery.

Places of Welcome

Burton Library has become the latest library in the county to launch its own ‘Places of Welcome’ session. ‘Places of Welcome’ is a growing network of hospitality run by local community groups who want to make sure that everyone in their area has a place to go for a friendly face, cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it. Developed out of the Birmingham Social Inclusion process ‘Giving Hope, Changing Lives’, ‘Places of Welcome’ is in part a response to social trends including the prevalence of loneliness, isolation and mental ill health, and the pressure on publicly funded services, especially health and social care. Led by a team of volunteers, the Burton Library session takes place every Tuesday between 2pm and 4pm.

So What?

This shows that Staffordshire County Council Libraries are at the forefront of helping to tackle a raft of issues facing our communities, including social isolation and issues with mental health.

Buddy Bags

Library Community Support Officer (CSO) for South East Staffordshire Ian Burley recently met Carrie Jahn at a Volunteer Forum at Lichfield. Amongst many roles that Carrie undertakes is that of being a representative for the Buddy Bag Foundation. This fantastic charitable organisation provides Buddy Bags to children entering emergency accommodation to restore a sense of safety and security in their lives. The bags are backpacks that contain essential items such as toiletries and pyjamas, as well as comfort items including books and teddy bears. Ian has been talking to knitting groups in libraries in the South East of the county to see if any of the groups would like to enrol with the Buggy Bag Foundation to knit teddy bears for the buddy bags. Watch this space!

So What?

This demonstrates the value of attending forums and making new contacts. If, as a result of this meeting, just one child has a better experience of going into emergency accommodation, then it will have been well worth it.

New Chapter at Talke Library

Kidsgrove Care Solutions have started an exciting new chapter at Talke Library. It’s been wonderful seeing their Members taking advantage of everything that the library has to offer.

There are lots of plans to ensure that the whole community can be involved in the future of the library. Drop-in and see us and get involved whether it’s borrowing a book, joining one of our groups, or even volunteering behind the counter.

So What?

It is great to see the new activities taking place in Community Managed Libraries throughout the county, and shows that Libraries fully representing the communities that they sit in.