Spotlight on Kingskerswell Library Community Pilot
Gillian Wright, Chair of the Friends of Kingskerswell Library, tells of her love for her local library, being part of a pioneering partnership with Devon Libraries and her excitement about the future for Devon’s libraries.
Kingskerswell is one of the 12 communities taking part in a pioneering project that sees local communities and Devon Libraries working together to make their local libraries even better places to be.
Why do you love your local library?
There’s always a friendly face in our library and very often I bump into someone I haven’t seen for a while. There’s so much more than just the books – which I do love – but you can use the computer, find out lots of information about local services and events and it’s so different from the library I knew as a child where you had to be quiet and it was all very formal. Our library is a very welcoming place with lots of activity.
Why did you get involved with the Friends Group?
I have been involved since 2007 and initially joined to support keeping the library in our community – it is such a valuable community facility. Now our Friends Group is focussed on getting even more local people using the library, putting on events like a local author reading planned for October, supporting our excellent librarian and raising funds to buy small items for our library.
Can you tell us about your community pilot project?
We wanted to buy some movable shelving so that the library could be used by local groups and for events when the library is closed – it is about putting the library right at the heart of the community and enabling more people to use this warm and comfortable space. Next we are working with our local library staff to market the space.
What’s it been like working alongside Devon Libraries?
The support we have had from our local librarian, area manager and all staff has been excellent. I have been amazed at the speed at which we have been able to get our shelving and move the project forward – it’s been a great experience and has really felt like we are working together as a team!
What would you say to anyone thinking about joining their library’s Friends Group?
I would say “Do It!” It’s a great way to do something positive for your local library and your community.
How do you feel about the future for Devon’s libraries and the new organisation?
I think this a very positive and exciting time for Devon’s libraries. I think the idea of a mutual – where local communities and staff own the new organisation – is a great way to make sure that people feel part of the change. I think this is the way forward and I would like to see it being a trailblazer for other services
What book are you reading at the moment?
Sparkles by Louise Bagshawe.
Anyone interested in finding out more about or joining the Friends of Kingskerswell Library can find Gillian in the Kingskerswell Library every Friday afternoon.