Call for ‘friends’ to support Liden library

Leah Bevan, the neighbourhood library manager

Becky Barrow in Liden library

Cara, Jade and Amber at Liden library

First published in News by

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help support and promote a community library, as another goes from strength to strength.

Liden Library is looking to start Friends of Liden Library group and get volunteers to run regular story-time sessions for young children in an attempt to mirror the success of a similar group at Covingham Library.

Residents are needed to help promote and support the library’s services, to fundraise and have a say in how to get the best out of the facility.

In Covingham, the Friends group runs events and raises awareness of the small library, which attracts numbers on a par with larger facilities such as Stratton and Old Town.

Leah Bevan, neighbourhood libraries manager, said she hoped to replicated the model in Liden.

“Covingham is very successful for such a small library and a lot of this can be attributed to the local community support,” she said.

“We’d like to learn from their example and make use of the larger space at Liden to hold more activities and events by engaging more with groups and residents, hence the current drive to create a friends group.

“We’ve had good support from the PCSOs in the area and the councillors are always interested in what we’re doing here. We’d like to find out what local people would like from their library and also what they have to offer or give back to help improve the library.”

Leah said she thought community libraries such as Covingham and Liden had the edge over larger ones because of the personal interaction and service on offer.

She said: “The big difference between places like Liden and somewhere like Central is there you get your books from a machine and put them back through a hole in the wall, but here everyone gets to know each other.

“Our staff will know what someone likes and order in the next in the series for them for next time, and that customer care I think is the unique selling point.

“It’s nice because the kids come in and use this a lot after school and they know my name.

“That’s why we want to get more parents and people from the community involved so we can run regular story-time sessions and get people using the library more often.”

The friends group would have no direct say in council business or any political bias and would work alongside library staff.

Statistics show that in the last year to March 2013 there were 29,580 visitors to Covingham library and 29,328 to Liden.

Coun Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “Last May the council extended the opening times for these two libraries to Saturday mornings, and they are the only two of the nine community libraries which have seen an increase in the number of visits.

“Covingham is number one for most efficient / lowest cost per visit, with Liden third of the nine.”

To find out more speak to a member of staff or contact Ellen Carter, libraries community development officer, on 07884 264541 or email ecarter@swindon.

gov.uk.

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