News for Volunteers

October 2018

Key points from the our coffee morning of 19th October and other updates.

Summer Reading Challenge  
It is confirmed that we had a very successful Summer Reading Challenge with a 60% plus completion rate, better than the County average.

National Libraries Week
We contributed successfully to National Libraries Week with the Clover Choir Session, Knit Natter Know Open New crafts afternoon and the Village Cluedo. The latter had sixty entries from both the Library and St Helens School and it was great that so many village shops were involved, with the hidden book being located in the Butcher’s shop.
Special thanks to the following volunteers who made an extra contribution to our Community Library here, namely Marion, Karen, Catherine, Viv and Frank.
Next year we will try to publicise our planned events more widely through County and in the Village Pump.

Project PLUS (Public Library User Survey) 
Jo Brown from County spoke to us all about this County survey which will take place in selected libraries, including ours, from 5th to 11th November.
The survey takes about 6 minutes to complete and all customers who come into the Library that week must be surveyed on the sequentially numbered forms. If people do not want to complete the form they need to be simply recorded.
It was agreed that the Key Holders on each day should be responsible for giving out the survey and helping customers where necessary.

County Community Libraries Forum
Chrissie and Lynn attended the first of these forums, chaired by Andrew Bignall on 23rd October. Representatives of the 5 existing and 5 ‘nearly there’ Community Libraries attended.
We heard the latest news about the ‘outsourcing’ of the Library Service. A ‘shell Public Mutual’ will be formed shortly, led by Andrew Bignell, but the whole process will have to go through full procurement so will take longer than anticipated.
We were asked to identify our Library’s greatest success and greatest challenge and volunteers offered the following. There was unanimous agreement that our greatest challenge was the dire technology which is so often unfit for purpose. There were lots of suggestions for our greatest success. These included

  • completion rate for SRC,
  • never having had to close as sufficient committed volunteers,
  • upping the Library and its volunteers’ profile in the village,
  • becoming a more relevant and valuable community resource through our projects, 
  • building a great volunteer community with lots of new friendships.

Green Book Matters

Technology -   All will be aware of the numerous IT problems we have had recently including one ‘total meltdown’ day and last week one ‘total chaos’ day, all recorded in the Green Book. A strongly worded letter has been sent to County by the Chair and various responses received. There is now an investigation regarding the degree to which the poor electricity contacts in this village (we have numerous power cuts) could be effecting the working of all aspects of our equipment, a situation which would need to be fully rectified before our move to the Fire Station. Meanwhile absolutely all problems MUST be logged in the Green Book, along with the SERCO reference number for the incident.

Two procedure reminders for all:
 Stock Editing -  Despite the instruction in the Library Bulletin, as a Community Library we are NOT to do stock editing. We have not been taught to do this properly and St Albans will continue to do this for the time being. Doing stock editing over zealously leaves us with empty shelves and so we have recently had to ‘un-withdraw’ several books.

Reservations -  The joys of the GDPR – volunteers who write the full name of someone who has reserved a book on the reservation identification slip, rather than the first three letters of the family name plus initial if we have more than one person reserving with said first three letters of the family name, will be personally hung, drawn and quartered by the Chair.

Volunteers Update
New Volunteers -  We have three new volunteers now going through Induction and Lyn will put these onto the November rota for their shadowing. Our two new D of E volunteers are being inducted by the Key Holder/Team Leaders on their rota session.

Rota -    It is really important - if you know you will be away for your session during a forthcoming month - that you drop an email to Lynn, ideally before the 20th of the previous month, so that she can take this into account and not have to do quite so many revisions of the rota.

Training -   Volunteer training needs identified such as for Netloan, Printing from Wi-Fi, Basic Book Group Protocols will be run as a short session at the end of the next Coffee Mornings wherever possible. This makes it difficult for those not attending the Coffee Mornings but once a number of people know the right way of doing these, they can spread the word.

WCL Projects progress
Knit, Natter, Know (Wednesdays 10-12 and New Craft Monthly Friday pm) continues to go well with eight to ten regular members, about the maximum for which there is space.

Toddler Time (Mondays 2.30pm) also continues to be well supported with some parents and carers also attending our new Thursday session.

Baby RhymeTime (Thursdays 10.30am) has got off to a roaring start with a very good take up, clearly providing for a community need.

Special thanks to the following volunteers who give extra time to our Community Library to run these events.
  • KNK = Karen and Catherine;
  • Toddlers = Anne, Gill, Barbara;
  • BabyRhymetime = Specialist volunteers Jane & Corinne, plus Anita and Liz.

Other Issues
Fundraising -   Sarah and David reminded us to use the Green Tokens at Harpenden Waitrose to support the Community Library fundraising in October and encourage all friends to do likewise.

Book Genre Identification - Large Print Stock – we discussed sorting these by genre but agreed that what is really needed is clear external labelling eg for Romance, Crime, Sci-Fi etc. Chrissie will check how this can be done with Imelda.

Lost Property –  we now seem to have a lot of this. Chrissie will enquire of Imelda what needs to be done.

Newspapers – many of us have commented on the dearth of a quality newspaper in the Library. Ann Howie is kindly buying the ‘I’ newspaper to go alongside our regular paper for seven days. Volunteers are asked to see how the usage of this appears. Chrissie will email Imelda to see if we can take two papers.

Local Activities for pre-school children – it is clear from the response to the two groups that we now run that there is a need in the village for under five activities. Quite often we are asked about this and as a community resource we should be able to tell customers what is available, especially as we understand that this activity is no longer happening at the Childrens’ Centre. Agreed that we will find out all the different groups and put a poster up to promote all of them.

Monthly Theme – it had already been agreed that a rotating monthly theme would be a good thing, to keep customers interested. We felt it should best be displayed not too far from the door and it would need a back display board and a small table. This has now been ordered. It would be good if a couple of volunteers could take on the task of setting this up and then organising the people to do the monthly or maybe bi-monthly theme display (not doing it themselves). For instance we could home in on a special author or current subject of interest or local activity. Classics Connection would probably like to do a theme early in the new year but we do need someone to look after this. PLEASE contact Chrissie if you could help here.

Christmas Celebrations
The Management Group would like to invite all volunteers to a Christmas Celebration now set on Tuesday 18th December from 6.30pm to 8.30pm in the Library. Canapes and drinks will be provided and it would be lovely if everyone could call in.

Some volunteers may want to organise lunches in small groups, e.g. at the Wicked Lady or the Swan, which would be lovely but would have to be at own expense. The Knit Natter Know group have already set a date for this.

Monday 3rd December 2018 at 10.30am
followed by a 20 minute training session so please book yourself out until 12.15 if possible.

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