News for Volunteers

July 2018

Key points from the our coffee morning of 13th July and other updates.

Volunteers update
Our five new volunteers have now ‘graduated’ and will be given regular slots. We discussed new applications and agreed not to send new volunteers away, including young people, but to ask them if we can keep them on the list for Induction in late September/October.

Three recent events of interest   
(a)  Chrissie gave a talk to Welwyn Parish Council on 25th June about how we progressed to becoming a Community Library. The PC have had to get more involved there as there is presently no management group but the Library has to ‘fly free’ by March 2019.   
(b)  Thursday 6th July was St Helen’s Reception Classes Library Visit. We ‘entertained’ some 50 five to six year olds and the children made a lovely thank you poster for us.   
(c)  David, with the help of several volunteers, ran our stall at Village Day on 8th July. Our book sale there raised £70. We discussed what to do with our surplus of books and decided
they could go to Shaws Corner booksales, Sainsburys and the Co-op book sales and Betterworld.

Day Book and IT Concerns 
The Green Day Book has been modified to make it more easily used. In addition at the other end of this book there are pages to log in every single computer/Spydus problem we have. Please all keep this diligently so all issues are recorded for future action.

Stock List
A set of possible teenage books have been identified by Alice Mauchline and her teenage daughter and a list handed in. Anne Roche expressed a wish to do the same regarding Children’s books.

Village Links
We discussed the ways in which the village and the library can be mutually supportive. Sus Bruce agreed to be a link with the recently opened Farrs Brewery Reading Rooms and Fanny Hamala with the Village Page website. We also discussed having more local books for reference only and being an outlet for local authors. We realise that we need to keep a quality check on these books but considered the idea of an Author’s Event with local author Janet Duggan. To be explored in the autumn.

A session for Keyholders will be held in the Library on Thursday 26th July at 10.30am. This will provide a chance to share views and identify training needs.

Wheathampstead Community Library Projects

Held on a Wednesday morning, this is thriving with nine members and the group recently made large tissue flowers for the stage set of a recent Carillon concert at Rothamstead.

This has proved very popular but after discussion we agreed that we would cease this group for the duration of the school summer holidays as we anticipate a lot more use of the children’s area with the Summer Reading Challenge.

We will reconvene in September and would ideally like to offer:

  • a babes rhyme time on a Thursday from 10.00 to 10.30am and
  • the Toddlers session before school collection at 2.30pm – 3.00pm on a Monday.

    However this will all  depend on volunteers coming forward to run the sessions. Anne Roche and Gill Cliverd were thanked for their considerable efforts so far.

    Neil is progressing our stock suggestions and exploring a limited rotation with two or three other libraries interested in the classics eg Chorley Wood.

    Champions and Project Leads

    A reminder of who is doing what. All help much appreciated.

    SPYDUS Jan Matthews, Karen Warr, Lisa Wenz
    BOOK GROUPS Frank Agnew, Margaret Baker, Lynn Hall
    TEENAGE BOOKS Alice Mauchline
    CHILDRENS’ BOOKS AND VISITS Chrissie Chadney, Barbara Findlayson, Anne Roche, Jill Maller
    DISPLAY Anne Roche, Fanny Hamula
    VILLAGE LINKS  Website: Fanny Hamala;  Reading Rooms: Sue Bruce
    Knit Natter Know – Catherine Dale, Karen Warr
    Classics Connection – Christine Anstice, Jenny Sugden, Maxine Webster
    Babies and Toddler Rhyme Time (Mondays 2.30pm) Anne Roche, Gill Cliverd

Summer Reading Challenge 2018

Local schools have now had all the necessary information. Barbara Findlayon is the St Helen’s contact and Chrissie Chadney the Girls Prep and Beech Hyde.

Chrissie, Anita and six other volunteers ran an SRC familiarisation morning for themselves and, at the end of this Coffee Morning, everyone was shown how to register children for SRC.

Stop press news – in the first three days we had registered 56 children which is excellent progress. We agreed that we will always need three volunteers on duty every session during the summer and if people can spare an extra hour to hear children read, they should just call in to the Library.
Chrissie remains the lead person for this project and has arranged the Presentation dates: 
Thurs 13th September at 4pm

Saturday15th September at 12 noon
Tues 18th September at 5.45pm


The Wheathampstead Community Library's first AGM followed the coffee morning and the Chair’s report is below.




I am pleased to present the first report of Wheathampstead Community Library, following the settling up of this Un-incorporated Association, which is the body of Volunteers which now run the Library.

It is fifteen months since the public meeting which first explored the running of Wheathampstead Library by volunteers supported by Hertfordshire Library Services. Prior to this I had gathered around me four like minded souls who I persuaded to act as the Management Group for the Library. What we had in common was a strong ideological commitment to Libraries, often because we had benefitted from them ourselves earlier in our lives. We were all committed to the public service which libraries embody, were not prepared to see the library close and were, essentially all doers, not just ‘sitters on committees’.

With the help of Claire Baraclough from Herts Library Service we worked on the early stages of the transition process, setting ourselves up as Un-incorporated Association and signing a Partnership Agreement with Herts CC. An Un-Incorporated Association has a constitution, copies are available here, and it is under this constitution that we are holding this AGM today, open to members of the public and within which I am now presenting this report.

The last year has been purposeful, frustrating, fruitful, challenging, exciting. We have all gone through a huge learning curve, the management group and the forty five volunteers who have joined us and been trained to run our community library. We have had wonderful support from Herts Library Service, led by Andrew Bignell but I would like to give particular thanks to those who have been most involved with us in our Partnership Meetings and Training, namely Russel Barrow, Principal Librarian -Operations West Hertfordshire, Neil Baxter, Community Services Manager and Imelda Jackson, Community Services Librarian. They have been with us the whole journey but we must also thank the several Librarians from St Albans, our buddy library and Harpenden and from central services who supported and trained us.

Over the months we all received training and had the opportunity of ‘shadowing’ professional librarians. We learnt about all aspects of the ongoing running of a library and wondered, with amazement, how on earth a lone Librarian could have covered all these tasks at Wheathampstead in recent years. We came to understand all the necessary processes and rules and kicked against some – one real victory was being allowed to have volunteer young people being supervised by volunteers. We now have three of these and they add to our diversity. We all learnt to love or loathe Spydus and slowly the ‘computer fears’ which some had, were lessened. Computers still provide a constant source of frustration as systems go down but we have made our feelings heard about this.

Each month communication with Herts Libraries is focused though our Partnership Meetings where we meet with Neil and Russel and hear the latest information and are able to share issues and get support. We have two sets of monthly communication with volunteers. Firstly the Monthly Rota, organised with great perseverance by Lynn, who surely has the most frustration job on the management group. Secondly the monthly Volunteers newsletter email which I send round, usually just after the Coffee Mornings. The Coffee Mornings themselves have been a very useful opportunity for those who are free to get together, to keep informed, to share issues and explore future plans. The email goes on the Website every month so that is a source of information for everyone.

When we first started we were supported by Redbourn Library which was already volunteer run and some of our volunteers visited them. In turn we are now trying to support local Libraries which will eventually become Community Libraries, namely London Colney and Old Welwyn. We have found some efficient and inclusive ways of doing things and are more than happy to share these with others. We ourselves continue to have great support from our Buddy Library, St Albans and centrally particularly regarding the monthly finance collections, through Library Link and through targeted training sessions.

Wheathampstead Community Library was officially launched on 17th April 2017. It was a very successful afternoon and also saw the beginning of a set of projects which we now run with the aim of becoming an even more relevant and valued community resource. On Wednesdays we have Knit, Natter and Know and on Mondays a Babes and Toddler storytime. We are also at the first stage of setting up Classics Connection and we are continuing to host various school and nursery visits. Volunteers are increasingly taking on new responsibilities as Champions or Project Leads so we are spreading the load. Good friendships have been formed among the volunteers which is another positive outcome boding well for the future.

In closing this first report I want to thank all volunteers and our Herts Library colleagues. However my special thanks must go to the Management Group. To Richard Brett, David Ireson, Anita Edmond and Lyn Hall. Your commitment to every aspect of this venture has been unswerving and you have given me really great support. Thanks so much to all four of you and I am pleased to be able to tell this AGM that we are all prepared to serve as members of the Management Group for the next year during which time we would hope to second one or two other volunteers on to the committee. Our competence in running the Library will hopefully grow, there will be new activities and, not least, we will have to contend with the move to the Fire Station and the outsourcing of Herts Library Service to what will probably be a Public Mutual. I am entirely confident that with the support of all volunteers and our Herts colleagues, our Community Library will continue to develop and be a significant resource to Wheathampstead.
Thank you

Chrissie Chadney
Chair of the Management Group Wheathampstead Community Library
13th July 2018

Click on the News Archive link above for previous news bulletins for volunteers.