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Community Library Update

by Haddenham Webteam – 4th March 2014
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Haddenham Community Library continues to delight local residents, thanks to a wonderful team of volunteer helpers and the creativity of the management team who, together, offer a diverse portfolio of services and activities aimed at a wide range of interests.

Steve Sharp, Parish Councillor and Chair of the Library Trustees, has been very pleased with the progress made since Bucks County Council handed over control of the Haddenham Library.

As he reports: "The library is thriving with increased numbers of members with cards – currently over 4700, living in the village and surrounding villages. Our staff – Emma Barrett the manager and Mel Polkey her assistant – and the terrific group of some fifty volunteers are not only providing the traditional range of library services but are achieving the community vision with more activities and services."

"The whole operation relies to a significant extent on contributions from our sponsors (listed on the 'Honours Board' in the foyer) which supplement our main grant from the County Council, with whom we have a strong working partnership. That grant is a five year agreement and sits alongside our 25 year lease for the building. Part of the deal is the valuable link with the Haddenham Children's Centre who have a shared office space and exclusive use of the library on Mondays and Wednesdays when the library is not open."

Examples of the increased community activities and facilities include

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Refurbishment of the widely-used children's area and regular story times for children, led mainly by volunteers
  • Weekly 'Knit and Natter' and spinning groups
  • Thames Valley Police drop-ins
  • Links with health promotion groups
  • Family history seminars with Eve McLaughlin
  • A bridge club
  • Stronger links with local primary schools and Lord Williams' School in Thame
  • Older persons' days
  • Computer induction and training sessions (see here)
  • A quarterly CV clinic
  • Hosting Village Society AGMs and a meeting of Haddenham and District Rotary Club
  • Meetings of the new Haddenham Writers' group

Steve also points out, "Our volunteers sign up to a weekly rota and carry out a range of duties, not just at the counter. They have all received training from staff and the County Council."

"The support of sponsors has enabled us to be financially viable in the near future, with a reserve fund equal to several months of running costs, as recommended by the Charity Commission. This has enabled us to make improvements to the area at the counter and behind it, to give better public access and working conditions for volunteers. In this regard, we are especially grateful to the Parish Council, Haddenham Beer Festivals Trust, Rectory Homes and Haddenham Garden Centre."

"Having said that, we still feel short of space and would welcome any opportunity to expand!"

"Comments and suggestions to help make the Community Library even better are welcome – please speak to one of the staff or volunteers at the reception desk."

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