What a week! Barely had we said goodbye to busy Christmas and New Year festivities than it was time to face up to the challenge of running a library.
Months of planning, recruiting, training and shadowing were behind us and now it was time to go it alone … well, not quite, as our Community Support Officer Lisa will thankfully be in attendance for a couple more weeks, poised to deal with the odd mental block or knowledge gap on the part of us volunteers. There’s certainly been a lot to learn. It’s impossible to cram a professional’s vast experience and expertise at short notice into even the most enthusiastic amateur’s brain, but luckily the reading residents of Kinver have treated us with patience so far. I’ve found that a big smile can mask any amount of panic.
We’ll still be learning as we go along, of course, which will be one of the joys of this particular brand of volunteering. It’ll keep the grey cells ticking along as well as give us the opportunity to enjoy interacting with the great Kinver public. For some this will mean assisting behind the counter, checking books in and out, keeping the shelves in order and dealing with inter-library loans. Others will contribute to our ambitious range of activities for all ages, as we aim to stage exhibitions, events, clubs and groups with wide appeal, that complement our primary purpose of continuing to provide quality reading.
This week also saw us widening our reach via social media and there’s been plenty of activity on our new Twitter account @KinverLibrary and Facebook page ‘Kinver Community Library’. The positive comments, shares, likes and retweets have been really encouraging and it’s a great way of getting our message out, so do please keep following. Thankfully traditional printed books and cyberspace aren’t mutually exclusive!
Our first major event was yesterday’s grand opening by Gavin Williamson MP. The atmosphere was vibrant and optimistic, with a fantastic turn-out. Around 40 guests included representatives from some of our sponsors (see front page of the website for details), colleagues from the County who’ve supported us through the transition, volunteers and members of the public. In a reference to his parliamentary role as Chief Whip, Mr Williamson was presented with a stylish riding crop, with which he proceeded to officially launch the community-led venture by means of three dramatic thwacks across the issue desk. Thank goodness there’s no longer a requirement for silence in the library!
Do have a good browse around the website to find out what your community library is up to. Come in and see us, have a hot drink, read the papers … and of course borrow a book.