Our countywide team of 5 Community Support Officers (CSOs) meet with Community Capacity Manager Chris Plant each month. The CSOs have helped to transfer 27 libraries over to community management over the last 3 years, whilst also significantly helping to increase volunteer numbers in our staffed libraries. These meetings help us to work on the future planning of the library service in respect to volunteers and local communities, whilst also discussing the work we have done in the previous month. As such these meetings are really valuable.
This demonstrates the importance both of team working and sharing good practice. The CSOs are always willing to help and support each other, whilst also learning from all of our experiences.
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.
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.
The chairperson of Loggerheads Community Managed Library, David Loades, has recently put an article in to the local Community Newsletter highlighting the issue with social isolation, and suggesting ways in which the Library can help. Whether this is attending one of the events in the library, or maybe even volunteering for a few hours a week.
In the weeks following the article David had been contacted by local people who feel isolated in the own community. After having a discussion with those who came forward they have managed to feel better about themselves, with some coming along to groups at the library or at the local Community Fire Station.
As libraries are open to all and a safe space with a varied program of activities, they are key to tackling social isolation in communities. Loneliness and social Isolation are key health and wellbeing considerations, as highlighted recently with the Prime Minister launching the Governments first Loneliness Strategy.
It is great to see that Silverdale Community Managed Library has been chosen to host the first ‘Books are Our Business’ training session. This training session is aimed at volunteers and library staff to support them in making sure that stock in all libraries is the best it can possibly be.
Silverdale were chosen as they had already supported a volunteer stock training pilot in the past (Link to previous blog art) It also lead to Silverdale Community Managed Library rearranging their library stock and shelving in order to make it more presentable.
Training is important to everything we do in libraries, as it gives volunteers confidence in day to day delivery of their libraries. This is also a training session with paid staff alongside volunteers so will present an excellent opportunity to share best practice. It is great to see that the hard work that Silverdale CML has put into reorganising their stock has been recognised as they have been asked to host the training session.
We are always working hard to ensure that we always have the best choice of stock on the shelves in all of our libraries. The relationship between the Stock, Services and Activities Officers, the Community Support Officers and the volunteers in the Community Managed Libraries and the constant hard work is what makes this possible.
We also have a wonderful computer system called Collection HQ. This ensures that even in the smallest of libraries the stock is constantly changing and is relevant for the library users.
Keeping the stock in libraries relevant for the communities that sit in is a constant job, and it is only possible with the fantastic relationships that exist between the volunteers in libraries and the County Council Library Staff who support them.
Since we have seen Kidsgrove Care Solutions take on the management of Talke Community Managed Library we have seen positive promotion within the local community.
Following the transfer, we saw an excellent article in the Sentinel Newspaper promoting the new venture.
The library has increased it’s opening times back up to the original 23 hours a week. This in turn has allowed the library to re-open on Saturday mornings which are getting busier and busier!
Kidsgrove Care Solutions has also been using their significant Social Media presence locally to raise the profile of the library. This will promote to more people locally that the library is available for us and some of the fantastic services it offers. The libraries FaceBook page can be found here.
It has also highlighted to the community the impact that the volunteers have had at the library, and in doing so they have recruited a further 5 volunteers to support the library. More work will be undertaken in the coming to raise the profile and engage the community further.
Promotion and community engagement is key to the success of libraries in local communities. This also highlights how important Social Media is in promoting the services offered.
Audley Community Managed Library Volunteers are celebrating winning the #WeCareAward in Audley this month and are really proud that the award was accepted on behalf of the community by Liz and Tony, committee members at Audley Community Managed Library.
This recognises the fact that the library is truly at the heart of the community as many of the events happened there, including the hugely successful ‘Purple Week’ which is now in its second year with plans already in place for 2019.
The award was for all library volunteers as well as all other members of the public who supported Purple Week 2018.
It’s great to see recognition for hard working volunteers making a real difference for local people and helping raise their profile for the valuable contribution they make to their community.
Matthew Howard, Community Support Officer for the Newcastle area recently attended a Community Developers meeting at Knutton Children’s Centre.
This was a meeting organised by the Gail Edwards, Staffordshire County Council Strategic Delivery Manager covering the Newcastle Area. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to bring together partners in order to see more joined up working within the Newcastle Community.
At the meeting we had individuals representing Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle Borough Council, Support Staffordshire, SCYVS, the NHS, the Children’s Centre.
These was a great opportunity for different individuals and organisations to not only network, but to learn what other services are available in the community. This is only the first step and there are more plans being developed to make it easier for all organisations to work in partnership.
It has been busy at Talke Library preparing to transfer the management to Kidsgrove Care Solutions, who are an organisation providing opportunities for local adults and young people with disabilities. Their fantastic staff have been in the library getting to know the customers and picking up lots of new skills alongside the existing volunteers.
The library will also now be open for 23 hours a week providing more opportunity for local people to access the library and all the services it has to offer.
Kidsgrove Care Solutions have some great ideas for the future of the library in Talke. Watch this space…
It is great to see a local organisation and group of volunteers from the surrounding community working hard to develop the future for the library. Talke Library is the 21st library to transfer to community management in Staffordshire.
Knutton St Mary’s Community Managed Library has started to develop a new Baby, Bounce and Rhyme session at the library.
Baby, Bounce and Rhyme is a weekly volunteer guided session in the library where nursery rhymes are sung and stories a read with preschool children. As well as helping your child’s development, it’s also a great way for you to meet other parents and carers. It aids stimulation to speech and is highly beneficial in aiding the bond of child to parent/carer, plus building the confidence of the child in a fun and relaxed group environment.
This is an excellent new initiative in Knutton that highlight the Community Managed Library’s response to a need in the community. By attracting young children and families into the library it ensures that they will continue to use library services in the future.