The first 100 days - a report from the Chair of Bedale Community Library, Andy Hallett

Bedale Community Library (BCL) came into being on 1st April 2017, so here we are 100 days down the road and still going strong.

 When the Board of Trustees was formed in order to bring BCL into being there were two main concerns.. Firstly, would we have enough volunteers to deliver the service expected and secondly, would there be enough funds to support the library through its first year and beyond?

As you will be aware, the response from people willing to volunteer was amazing, with over 120 coming forward; 40 of whom so far have received training in the day to day running of the library. NYCC Library Services have provided professional support twice a week through Ruth Partington, a Library Supervisor and Laura Dinning, an Outreach Librarian who have responsibility for Bedale. Both of these ladies have provided invaluable support to the volunteers with on the job mentoring and guidance.

Our volunteers have risen admirably to the challenge of taking over Bedale’s library from NYCC. They have absorbed the basics of the day to day running along with learning the computer management system necessary to keep track of all transactions and movement of book stock. Their confidence in delivering the frontline service grows daily.

Our current financial stability is due in no small part to the generous grants from local town and parish councils such as Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar and the smaller parish councils that make up our wider community. Through the efforts of our Treasurer, BCL was able to access funding from a NYCC Councillors’ Locality Grant and from the  Rector’s 4 and 20 of Bedale, among others. Fund raising activities included the Friends of Bedale Community Library launch event, proceeds from a Co-op bag pack and a car boot sale. The Patrick Brompton Community Events Committee kindly ran a Coffee Morning and donated its proceeds to the Library. All these activities serve to maintain the funding required and to keep the Library and its services sustainable.

BCL is supporting the Core Promotions of main libraries such as Northallerton. In June children enjoyed the Bookstart Week story time session delivered by volunteers and making their own ‘bunny ears’ to go with the story line.

Also in June, BCL supported ‘The Festival of Learning’ with volunteer Norman Hazlewood providing an IT training session for those wishing to learn more about basic computing. The biggest promotion of the Summer is taking place in July with the start of the Summer Reading Challenge. This is aimed at 4 to11 year olds to encourage their interest in reading. This has always had a good response with 160 children signing up to take part last year.

BCL continues to support the volunteers of NYCC’s Home Library Information Service (HLIS). This important and much valued community service delivers library books to the homes of those who are unable to visit the library in person due to infirmity or ill health. Those in receipt of the HLIS were concerned that it would cease with the changeover to a community library; their delight is evident that this service continues.

There are those who doubted that we as volunteers, amateurs even, could pull this off; those who said that the library would never be the same or the services as good. As the Library goes from strength to strength we are, thanks to the commitment of its volunteers, Friends and supporters both local and throughout the wider community proving these doubters wrong.

 

 

Published: 26/06/2017 Published by: Liz Bostock

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