We’ve come a long way since a meeting for potential volunteers in late February this year, and here we are, on the brink of officially launching Kinver Community Library.  It’s been all go since the community management bid was accepted in late summer, getting a team of willing workers on board and ensuring that we know the workings of the library as well as we possibly can.  With days to go before going ‘live’ on 3rd January, the volunteers got together for a coffee morning and shared some of their thoughts on the journey so far and their hopes for the library’s future.

Volunteer Co-ordinator Ruth stressed how thankful the Board is that so many enthusiastic and committed villagers have stepped forward to keep this vital resource open.  “Everyone has come together really well as a group,” she said, highlighting the sense of community that’s a wonderful by-product of a joint endeavour such as this.

Book Stock Manager Val voiced a common theme amongst volunteers: “We’ve been shadowing real librarians for a few weeks now and have enjoyed meeting all the regular users, but you’d be surprised how much there is to learn and how difficult it is to remember it from one session to the next.”  She hopes borrowers will bear in mind just how much knowledge and experience the professional librarians have and recognise that it will take a while for the volunteers to come anywhere near up to speed.  Fortunately, we’ll be able to consult the remaining staff at Perton and Wombourne whenever we have a query and look forward to maintaining the contact.

Reflecting on the intensive training sessions and shadowing opportunities, volunteer Joan also paid tribute to the professional librarians who undertook three or four years of formal education to equip them for the task, and wryly commented “we’ve had to learn it in six weeks” but was nevertheless keen to get stuck in.

Some volunteers will take on duties away from the issue desk.  Lin, who will assist with all-important children’s activities, commented on how pleased she was that a substantial group of people have risen to the challenge: “I’m thrilled that the library will continue to be an asset to the village.”

Exhibitions and the regular Knot, Knit & Natter Group will be masterminded by Marie: “As a volunteer I hope to help increase visitor numbers by organising exhibitions where the work of local artists, photographers and crafts people will be showcased.  The library is a friendly space where exhibitors and visitors alike will feel welcome to spend time.”

Chairman Ekkehard has worked tirelessly, leaving no stone unturned to ensure we’re all as equipped for the enterprise as is humanly possible.  He confirmed he was “excited to take over” and full of “high hopes”.

Much of the training has been arranged by Lisa Dyke, our Community Support Officer from Staffordshire Libraries.  If any of us has reservations (excuse the pun) about whether we’re ready for the new venture, Lisa is full of confidence.  “I’m overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of this group of volunteers and how you’ve all positively embraced the prospect of running your library.  It shows great community spirit and I have no doubt that it will be a great success.”

Please come in from 3rd January onwards and put us to the test!