January 17, 2012
Today we offer a blog from guest author Mike Harris and his community library experience.
Well, that was the week that was!
It’s not often that I get up early on a Monday morning to go to a radio station for a live interview, get back home, open a community library and then do an interview for TV. Doesn’t this sort of thing usually happen to other people?
It all seems so long ago that we were putting together our business plan and waiting for Cabinet’s approval. Now, the library is live with customers coming through the door, us volunteers are being trained by county council staff in the management systems and basically on how to run a library. There is no going back; we have launched and Kineton has a community library.
We are the first community library in Warwickshire to ‘go live’ as we had a comparatively simple business plan. Nevertheless, we have had to arrange a new agreement with the Village Hall Association for the room we occupy, arrange a new telephone line and internet connection and we have had to address the problem of opening times.
For that, it was necessary to try to balance the days and hours that volunteers are available, the current opening hours and the wishes of our customers. No doubt we will have to review these once we have been up and running for a time.
The Library Service has modified the management system and staff are currently testing the modified version out of Kineton. We realise that we are guinea pigs and expect some trials and tribulations in getting a new system up and working. But we place our trust in them that it will work!
We met the deputy portfolio holder for libraries from Warwickshire County Council on Monday. He pledged the council’s ongoing support and I am delighted. Just as Kineton needs volunteers to continue the service, we couldn’t have got this far without the support of the council.
But similarly, the council expressed the view that community libraries such as Kineton are dependent on volunteers. It couldn’t do without us. Cllr Jim Foster said as much on the video which can be found on YouTube. Here’s a link for anyone who fancies watching it.
Before I (b)log off, I should like to pay tribute to the other volunteers who have made this community library possible. I appear to have been the ‘media darling’ this week – well, you know how it is, some of us have just got that X factor… – but this has been a terrific team effort. There will still be a much-loved library service in Kineton because of the volunteers we have. They know who they are. People in Kineton will know them soon enough as well.
Chair Friends of Kineton Library