News Archive

The key points from our recent meetings are shown below.

Coffee Morning on 8 March 2018

Key points from the our coffee morning of 8th March and other updates

  • The Coffee Morning opened with the ‘hot off the press’ news that we have been awarded a £700 grant from the Locality Budget through Councillor Annie Brewster. Anita will now repay any monies owed and our healthy bank balance will contribute very helpfully to all of our development plans.
  • The Office Clear-out was much appreciated by volunteers – thanks to Neil and Imelda and those volunteers who worked hard to make it a decent working space.
  • We have just five weeks to go before the launch of our Community Library. From next week the professional staff will only attend for two hours on a Monday and Thursday and this will cease after Easter.
  • Volunteers were thanked for filling in for the several session gaps that have occurred with holidays etc in March. Three people are temporary additional Key Holders – Gill Partington, Liz Russel, Michael Smethers.
  • The Day Book has proved extremely useful and well used with lots of information and suggestions. All volunteers are asked to read it each session.
  • We discussed ‘Building’ things which we need to get help from County to resolve, namely 1) new large mat for front door; 2) overhaul of central heating system and bleeding of radiators; 3) acquiring a small heater for cold spells; 4) getting a copy of the safe key; 5) a CO2 fire extinguisher. Chrissie will pursue these with County.
  • Richard has now put up the Photo Board on the wall next to the main desk. If your photo is not there please contact Richard who will take photos.
  • Volunteer Short Notice Pool - Lynn requested that people let her know if they would be prepared to be in her monthly ‘short notice’ pool. This does not commit anyone to any extra session but if you might be available when we have only 48 hrs or less notice of a ‘gap’, then it helps to have a list of names to phone. PLEASE EMAIL LYNN NOW IF YOU ARE PREPARED TO BE IN THIS ‘POOL’
  • Training on Spydus – over twenty people have now been trained by our Spydus Champions, Karen, Lisa and Jan. Big thanks to them. Herts County will provide some more training by Lisa but we agreed that this was not now a priority and could wait until April/May.

Wheathampstead Community Library Projects -

Chrissie introduced four potential projects on which she had done some preliminary work and a useful discussion took place. In principle it was agreed that we should try to get at least two of them started immediately after the Launch, certainly the Toddler Time which we know is wanted. The following people agreed to lead the ‘next stage’ thinking for each. In each case a third or fourth volunteer would be helpful so make direct contact with the named people below or through Chrissie. In each case it would be good to have a two minute verbal report on ‘where we are so far with this’ at the Launch. Each group will need to think about how it is going to publicise the service and should contact David for help needed here and Richard for what is to go on the website.

  • The Library Club for primary children plus initial lead work on the Summer Reading Scheme – Barbara Findlayson, Anne Roche
  • Classics Connection – Maxine Webster, Jenny Sugden
  • Toddler Time - Jill Maller, Gillian Partington
  • Knit, Knatter and Know - Karen Warr, Chrissie Chadney

Launch of WCL Tuesday 17th April 4pm at the Library – all volunteers are invited to attend
Annie Brewster, Andrew Bignell, Head of Libraries, David Johnson, Chair of Wheathampstead Parish Council will attend and we will serve prosecco or juice and cake. Publicity about this will be arranged by David.

February 2018

Key points from the our coffee morning of 9th February and other updates.

At this Coffee Morning we welcomed David and Stephen from Redbourn Library. They were able to share with us their experiences of Redbourn Library at this period in its development as a community library.

  • Transition period now until Easter… From now on volunteers will be opening and closing the Library and the professional staff will be around for the middle two hours of each session. There will be a gradual complete removal of staff from mid March.
  • Key Holders who open and close …
    • Mondays:-       John Anstice, Sarah Ryan
    • Tuesdays:-       Ulla Perch, Marion Oxley, Jill Maller, Anita Edmond
    • Wednesdays:-   Lisa Wenz
    • Thursdays:-       Frank Agnew
    • Saturdays:-       Karen Warr, Christine Anstice, Fanny Hamala
  • The Rota - we now have a standard rota which will pertain every month on a fortnightly cycle unless individuals are away. If this is the case it is vital that Lynn is informed, ideally before she sends out the first draft for a month. We do not want to have to do more than two versions if possible. If, on the day, you are unexpectedly unable to attend your session, please phone directly into the Library on 01582 628680 so that your colleagues know.
  • The Volunteers Pool - we need some volunteers who will offer to be in the ‘Pool’ for cover as well as doing their standard sessions. There is no obligation for this but extra help would be appreciated.
  • Communication – Following suggestions at the last coffee morning we now have:
    • The Day Book ( Hard green cover to left of main desk). Anita has organised this in four sections 1) Information for all;  2) Frequently Asked Questions ( put these in and the Management Group will try to answer each week)  3) Mini Projects – the Management Group will put these in with dates for completion and volunteers are invited to put their names against a project and do it;   4) Suggestions and Ideas from Volunteers. Please read this book on each session you attend.
    • The Diary - as now. Please sign in every day and leave any current/everyday information for others on duty eg computers down 2pm to 3pm/ new stationery stock has arrived.  
    • The Monthly Newsletter - the newsletter on the website which Chrissie writes each month will also be emailed to all volunteers
    • The Photo Board – this is nearly completed and Richard showed us the mock up. It will be put up next to the desk this month.
  • Training on Spydus – the new manual is now in the Library and so training will begin next week for the next month. Our champions, Lisa, Karen and Jan have each given three dates when they can run sessions and Chrissie will email inviting attendees and sort out a rota, two to three people each session.

  • New Volunteers – are still wanted. The village has been leafletted again and we would like some five more individuals. All volunteers were asked to spread the word.
  • Events – We have recently provided one nursery school visit and will be hosting Yellowstar Nursery under 3s on 16th February, the Reception Class and Year 6 from St Helens in early March and groups from the Friday Mothers and Toddlers session. These sessions happen in the morning and volunteers who would like to get involved with this should contact Chrissie
  • Fundraising – Waitrose and Book Sales – Sarah Ryan is in contact with Waitrose Harpenden regarding our being recipients of the ‘green token’ collection; we hope we will be a named group in the summer. David is continuing to manage and refresh the WCL Book Sale trolley from which money is satisfactorily trickling in.
  • Consultation on Alternative Delivery Model for Libraries - ends 17th Feb 2018 decision in March. It is important that all volunteers read the leaflet and questionnaire about this and /or fill in the response on line. All alternatives have disadvantages but the status quo is not an option.

  • Fire Station news – a letter has been received to say that planning has been granted and it is anticipated that work will start in June 2018

January 2018

Key points from the our coffee morning of 8th January and other updates

Library Staff Withdrawal

  • Herts Library Service will commence the withdrawal of their staff from the middle of January. For the first fortnight volunteers will open and close the Library on three sessions a week and this will extend to all sessions from February. The professional staff will still attend for the middle part of each session. This transition period will continue until mid/late March from which time the Library will be fully volunteer run.

Community Library Launch

  • We will hold the formal Wheathampstead Community Library Launch on Tuesday 17th April 2018 at 4pm.  Watch this space for details.

Herts Libraries Consultation

  • County is now carrying out a public consultation on the ‘alternative delivery model’ for the Libraries Service. This closes on 18th February. They would like responses on line so please could all volunteers go on to the . It is really important that we all have our say and if you want to talk about this please speak to a member of the Management Group.


  • The Spydus manual is presently being produced by the library staff. As soon as this is available (we hope early February) we will be running a series of training workshops. We have some names already but drop a note to Chrissie if you would like to attend.


  • Volunteer Rota – we now have a standard rota and all volunteers have confirmed their Agreement to their normal times of duties. Inevitably there will be times you cannot do; please contact Lynn or Anita as soon as possible if this is the case.
  • Now that we have a standard rota we have been able to identify key holders for each session. The key holders are Lisa, Frank, Sarah R, Marion, Fanny, Karen, John & Christine A. The five members of the Management Group are also keyholders.
  • Lynn has produced a filing card set of contact addresses and emergency numbers for all volunteers. These are kept in a small box file in the office drawer.
  • Keeping in touch – please use the diary to sign in and write notes as necessary to each other. Volunteers have suggested that we have a day book which can deal with FAQs, note training ideas, and also through which we can ask for volunteers to do additional tasks eg display changing; doing the garden outside. We will get this up and running for February.
  • We would like a few more volunteers to be trained so that we have sufficient cover when people are away. Anita and Chrissie hope to run another Induction in early March. So if you know a suitable, keen person please let us know.


  • The photo board is nearly ready and Richard has found a place for it to go up. We would like a photo and first name of each volunteer so please see Richard and he will sort this out.
  • We now have a direct line telephone to the Library HQ at Welwyn Garden City. This replaces the video Library Link.
  • Book and magazine jackets (plastic) – it has been decided by County that these will not be supplied

Fund Raising

  • David will be re-doing the Book Sale Display with a new theme mid January. The money continues to trickle in and is kept in a separate box in the safe.
  • Sarah R has been in contact with Waitrose to see if we can be a beneficiary of their ‘green token’ fundraising at Harpenden store. (Redbourn Library is such this month).  Sarah and David will now make the formal application

Questions from the Coffee Morning

  • Problems with Stock Rotation (please would everyone check with Librarian that it is being done correctly and that the OK button is used after each instruction/entry);
  • Request that things are left for the late shift to do (not everything needs doing by 4pm);
  • Query about locking up when there are still people in Hall – we said that we should lock everything up whatever and if there are people still there then they must unlock/lock up when they go.
  • Clarification - Rota Week A starts 1st January and week B 8th January….the A/B continues week on week for the full year.

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November 2017

Twenty one volunteers, along with Neil Baxter and Imelda Stewart from the Library Service, attended our November coffee morning.  


  • Spydus 10 Training has been given to five volunteers (Karen, Lisa ,Jan M, Lynn, Anita) who are now our ‘champions’. An overview, which anyone can attend, will be run by Herts Libraries on the morning of 17th November and Spydus 10 will go live on Thursday 23rd November. There will then be a series of workshops and all volunteers will get the dates and four can attend each on a first come, first served basis.
  • To assist our understanding of library procedures, the procedures manual is now available on PDF, in small sections. If any volunteer wants to do some homework on this please contact us through our email and we will forward the papers.

Monthly Rota

  • Volunteer Rota – the rota is now becoming more stable but inevitably, with the Christmas holidays, there will be some people unable to volunteer on their usual day in December. After discussion we will now be sending out to all volunteers their ‘Agreement’ so that you and the management group know when your standard volunteer sessions happen.
  • There will always be times when people cannot attend their session. We have identified a few people who will be ‘Pool Volunteers’ and can cover. Early information that you cannot attend your session is appreciated by Lynn and Anita


  • We now have 43 volunteers and 1 young volunteer. Everyone has been inducted and most are now well ahead with their ‘shadowing’. Chrissie read out the Risk Assessment she has had to do on our behalf as we have a young volunteer. •
  • Volunteers are reminded of Data Protection and the need to not use the information to which we have access for genealogical searches. Neil reminded us of the need for security with people’s pin numbers which must never be written on library cards.


  • We continue to work on the signage and the Volunteers Board, hopefully up in the new year. We now have a flip chart easel for training and stop press notices.
  • Whilst we now have a recycling bin, it is still not clear how this might be collected and for the moment we are all going to have to take some papers home to add to our own recycling.

Book Sales

  • David reported the disappearance of a box of Travel Books which he had gathered together for next theme on our own Book Sales trolley. More books on this subject would be welcome as he will change the theme shortly.

Library Visits

  • Knebworth Library, which is about nine months behind us in the transition to Community visit to visited on 23rd October.
  • Gill P and Karen went to visit Redbourn Library. A very comprehensive report of this visit will be sent out to everyone from our central email. The major learning was very positive and Redbourn would like to get together with us in the new year.

Other Matters

  • The internal plans for the co-located Fire Station /Library are now available and held in the library with the external plans
  • Herts Libraries is looking into the matter of mending the middle computer, acquiring a second scanner and providing a ‘hot line’ phone direct to Welwyn whilst we have no Library Link.
  • We understand that County is looking for one or two Home Library Volunteers in this area. This requires full DBS checking and if you are interested please contact Herts Libraries Outreach Services
  • The Head of Service, Andrew Bignell, has informed all Community Libraries that the Council is now considering a new model for delivering Library Services. This would be a form of outsourcing to a not for profit (NFP) body. This is only the beginning of consultation but more information can be found by Googling – Herts Library Services Alternative Delivery Model.

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Christmas Soiree 2017

A thank you to all of us - On the evening of Monday 11th December 2017 we held out Christmas Soiree in the Library  for all Volunteers and our friends from Herts Libraries.

There were nibbles, wine, soft drinks, chat and fun.

It was great to see everyone who was able to come along.