Been quiet recently... it’s been a busy start to the Year. What Wiltshire Council are calling 2012 the Year of Celebrations... to that end I have been in activity organising overdrive. This is a year of opportunity being able to get the community enthused about libraries and educate them all about the resources we have... I signed someone up last week who didn’t realise the library service was for all intents and purposes a free service! This really scares me, if people don’t know the most fundamental basics about their local library how can we expect them to know about online resources, audio book subscriptions and everything else we have to offer!
January started with promotion of a wall painting competition... a community competition promoted at all the schools to find a new design for a wall painting in our children’s library. This was publicised by sending out posters and guidelines to all schools and the offer of an assembly visit if wanted. It goes to show how important going out into the community is – of the 9 schools in the area the 2 schools I visited sent in the most entries – this is feedback that will help when planning and promoting future events such as half term activities or Summer Reading Challenge promotion! Over the half term the designs entered have been exhibited in the library and borrowers have been able to vote for their favourite design. This is centrally a community based activity which has gets children coming into the library where we can then talk to them about other services the library can offer – homework help, rhyme times for younger siblings, book recommendations etc.
It was also Dickens 200th birthday this year if you hadn’t heard the news already! One of our libraries is quite fortunately located on Pickwick Road and with this in mind we couldn’t resist a Dickens event. Ideas were bandied around including a mass reading group with library reading groups, Victorian tea parties and a dramatic readings event. The latter won the race and we contacted performers in the local amateur dramatics group who came in to perform Dickens readings including the death of Nancy and Joe’s plea to Pip. It also gave us a chance to unearth some of the less popular works including extracts from Barnaby Rudge and Hard Times. With library assistants in Victorian dress and the local councillor in attendance a regular quiet weekday afternoon came to life and everyone who attended gave positive feedback commenting that they enjoyed the performances and liked the idea of doing something like this again in the future.
Half term came with multiple jungle themed pyjama parties... pass the parcel, pin the tail on the Lion, colouring and craft activities and with all good library events a bit of storytelling including a couple of Tony Mitton classics including The Jungle Run and Jungle Jive. It’s been a long time since we’ve had staff capacity to run events but it is one of the most enjoyable parts of the job and there is no better publicity than the view of seeing happy children enjoying the library.
Behind the scenes and with the support of my manager we have been rolling out training for stock management in the five libraries that make up our community area. This involved writing stock policy guidelines, splitting the stick into manageable sections, actively training staff and following up with staff to make sure they were happy and confident to get on with this themselves. The results of this will unravel over the next couple of months and we will keep an eye on this. At the same time we have been spending up stock budgets before the end of the financial year and I am really excited about all the new stock that will be coming in the next couple of months.
So all in all an exciting start to the year and we still have the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch parade and games, Summer Reading Challenge and unknown events to schedule... this year is definitely going to be one of celebration, I just hope I can survive it!