One of the key areas that the Community Support Officers support the Community Managed Libraries is in supporting them to manage their library buildings. The range of support varies enormously.
It can be from helping them make sure that all the Health and Safety checks are completed correctly to liaising with colleagues in the property services to ensure that issues with the building have been put right.
We will often be involved in larger projects to do with the buildings as well that may be needed to enhance the service
The library buildings themselves are an important asset for all the community groups that have taken on the management of the Community Managed Libraries as the space that they offer allow the groups to deliver the great events and services for the local communities.
As a team, the Community Support Officers regularly attend training so we can keep up to date with the latest knowledge available. Nothing is more important than Health and Safety training we attend. We have recently taken part in days training to understand how to train volunteers in the use of Evacuation Chairs.
Evacuation Chairs are in all our libraries that have more than one floor. In the case of an emergency evacuation of one of our buildings, the evac chairs allow those with mobility issues to be safely evacuated down the stairs. As two of our Community Managed Libraries now have more than one floor, this is something that we need to consider.
During the training we shown how to deploy the chair, assist someone into the chair and to safely take them down a flight of stairs. We were also trained in the best way to train others in the use of the chairs.
It is important that as staff responsible for supporting and training volunteers that we keep up to date with the most recent training available, particularly when it comes to H&S to ensure the CML Network are supported.
Last month saw the first Meeting of the recently transferred Clayton Community Managed Library’s new Steering Group. 8 volunteers who want to take a more active role in the management of the library attended the meeting. These volunteers will work alongside the partnership organisation who manage the library, Business Enterprise Support, to develop services in the library and ensure its smooth management.
During the meeting we discussed many things, from displays that could be done in the library to the creation of a Health and Safety team.
It is great to see volunteers from the surrounding community taking an active role in the management of their Community Managed Library, as it shows the amount of community interest in the library through the volunteers from that community.
Over the years we have always tried to promote the library service in more varied community spaces.
Through the autumn and winter of 2019, CSO Matthew Howard, along with Libraries Operational Manager Farida Mohamedali and Stock Services & Activities Officer Tracy Howard (picture below with Port Vale Club Mascot Booma the Dog) have been promoting the library service at Port Vale FC on certain match days.
We used a space in the Children’s Centre which is attached to the Football Club’s Family area, where we were able to speak to people about Staffordshire Library’s e-services and promote library volunteering in North Staffordshire.
It is great to be able to promote the library service in in a non-traditional space and speak to people who may not be aware of some of service now offered by the library service.
Over 90 members of the public came into the library on a Saturday morning to see the launch of ‘Talke Pits – A Former North Staffordshire Mining Village’, by Paul Dunning. Published by Audley and District Family History Society. It is the author’s account of the history of the village since the mid-19th Century
The book has been so popular hat they have had to do a second re-print, and copies are now available to purchase from the library for £7.50.
It is very important for libraries to host events like this, as it highlights the buildings as local hubs in the community.
Instead of me recounting Francesca’s journey, please follow the link below to PM Training’s website and you can watch video where Francesca and Gemma Hammond (BES Contracts Manager) will tell you all about it in their own words.
This is the first blog update following a very busy summer. The Team have successfully transferred a further 5 libraries to community management, which brings the total number of Community Managed Libraries in Staffordshire to 27. We’re really pleased that of the 27 Libraries moved forward into community management, all are staffed by volunteers and delivering Library services to their respective communities.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all the partner organisations who are supporting the network of Community Managed Libraries across Staffordshire.
We have also said goodbye to one of the Team of Community Support Officers. Cathy Attwood retired in June 2019. Her workload has been divided up amongst the remaining Team.
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Community Managed Libraries win National Award
MPFT in partnership with Staffordshire County Council have won a HSJ Award at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 7/11/19. The Community Managed Libraries project had been shortlisted in the Health and Local Government Partnership Award along with nine other nominees.
The HSJ Awards are the biggest and most prestigious awards for the NHS Sector in the Country.
This is fantastic for everyone involved in project to be recognised nationally for all the hard work that they have put in
BES have been doing a great job managing Silverdale Community Managed Library since January 2017. Due to the close proximity of Clayton to Silverdale and the potential in the library they decided to look into managing the library.
Volunteer recruitment begin in February 2019, and the first volunteers who came forward had the opportunity to train alongside existing volunteers at Silverdale Community Managed Library. Further training at Clayton began in late May and the library officially transferred to community management on 1/7/19.
Volunteer recruitment and training has continued and we currently have 34 volunteers regularly volunteering at the library.
It is great to see a partner organisation who have had success managing a Community Managed Library taking on a second library to do the same there.