Volunteers step in to provide community library service after council axes van

Photo of volunteers who run the community library.
Volunteers who run the community library (l-r): Carol Clare, Jack McGinley and Peter Day.

A new library has opened in the St Michael’s Centre in Stoke Gifford, providing a range of books for adults and children in the local community.

Located in the mezzanine above the coffee shop, which has step free access, the community library has replaced South Gloucestershire Council’s mobile van service which ceased running in October due to cuts in library services.

The library is run by a team of three volunteers who give up their time to provide this service to local residents, many of whom are unable to travel to the main library in Bradley Stoke. Jack McGinley, one of the volunteers, states that they are “here to serve the community” and describes the library as “a nice, warm, friendly environment where you can meet other people”. Peter Day, another volunteer, adds that “you can also enjoy a cup of coffee while you’re here!”

The community library is open every other Tuesday from 2pm to 4pm, opening this month on 5th and 19th December. The library will be open again after Christmas on 2nd January. The volunteers are hoping to extend the opening hours once the demand for the service increases.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care.

The library provides a changing collection of adults’ and children’s books, large print, spoken work and DVDs. Members of the public are also able to request books, for which there is no charge, which will then be delivered to the library for them to collect. An ‘Active’ card is needed to borrow any books or DVDs but these can be issued at the Stoke Gifford library for anyone who does not already have one. Having the Active card also means that books taken out at other libraries in South Gloucestershire can be returned at Stoke Gifford.

The new library has already started to benefit members of the local community, such as the Women’s Institute book club. With all of the members living in Stoke Gifford, they have previously had to travel across to Bradley Stoke to borrow and return their books. This can now be done at the Stoke Gifford community library. Sue Grimsted, member of the book club, said: “Now that the Bradley Stoke library has reduced its hours and number of workers, we are finding it more and more difficult to order the books that we want. The new library based here in the St Michael’s Centre is going to make it so much easier for us to borrow and return our books.”

The St Michael’s Centre is looking for more volunteers to help run the library, with their next training session coming up in January 2018. If you are interested in finding out more about this role, or would like any more information about the library, please contact Carol Clare at osrlibrary@gmail.com

Photo of local resident Madelynne being issued with a new library card.
Local resident Madelynne being issued with a new library card.

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 33). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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