Tuesday, 10 January 2012

An Inaugural Meeting

Hi all

Well that was quite scary! I have never called a meeting in my life. Just the word meeting is enough to send me into blind panic. Parents evening - either as a child or as a parent have always been embarrassing at best and jaw clenchingly awful at worst.

However. Lovely people turned up, that was a surprise in itself, not that they were lovely but that they came along to MY meeting.

I took a long a newspaper just in case it was a no-show and then I could pretend to be just passing by of a Monday night with my notebook and hopeful face!
 Note to self, don't forget 'Aims' from my personal manifesto.....I AM AS CLEVER AS EVERYONE ELSE....THERE IS NO SECRET CODE......start believing that I can achieve stuff too.

Here's what we discussed:

Information we need to have:

  • Contact name at Planning dept. (Erika has a contact and will follow that)
  • Time frame expectation for commencement of refurbishment
  • Whether, time-frame depending, it would be feasible to be to push for minor refurb on existing Children’s Library – our children are missing vital experiences and they grow up very fast.
  • Will we be allowed to have our say? What format will this take?

In order to attract families to use the library we all agreed that it needs to become more of a ‘destination’. It needs to be enticing and exciting for children. I mentioned ‘The Ministry for Stories’ a non-profit making organisation established in 2010 in North London. This was set up as an initiative to improve literacy and encourage young people in imaginative writing. I’m not suggesting we follow that model; however I feel we could learn a lot from them.
Please take a look: http://www.ministryofstories.org/ . It also needs to ‘work’ for parents and disabled users.

Essential Facilities:

·        CafĂ©. This should be easily accessible for families – i.e. on same floor. Affordable meals. The Bridge Community Centre offers healthy low priced meals and this should be replicated (or similar).
·        Toilet facilities appropriate for all users. Toilets MUST be available on Children’s Library level.
·        An area for older children to be able to read quietly and use computers away from toddlers, but still within Children’s library allowing parental control etc.
·        Access

Desirable Facilities/services:

  • Storyteller – available on a regular basis. If parents appear unable/unwilling/shy/busy with smaller siblings then someone should be able to share books with children. Ideally personnel who find it easy to interact with children should work in this part of the library – we need inspiring people!
  • Using the Ministry of Stories model – we feel the environment could be made more subject specific. Themes changing regularly. Pirates, monsters, princesses etc.
  • The library should have more contact with local schools especially at Primary level. Not just the Summer Reading Challenge.
  • Art/craft sessions.

Finally, the library needs to encourage community and be more readily accepting of volunteers.

It was a great start and I feel the momentum rolling.

Just a last note for today - thanks for following me here. I have had so many fantastic responses. Lots of people have said that they too are trying to make the most of this year - changing their mindset and endeavouring to step out of comfort zones! If you haven't been here before and want to know what i'm talking about please look back over the last couple of weeks posts! And feel free to come along for the ride!


  1. Our local library was rebuilt a couple of years ago, yay, you may think. It turned out to be a completely soul-less glass building with dead grass on the roof, a totally uninspiring interior with disinterested staff. Not exactly a success! Good on you Beth, from what I remember about you, I expect great things and a keen story teller on hand! Well done you, you're actually inspiring me at the moment to make some changes! Much love, Lin

  2. How disappointing for the whole community - this is why i'm really determined that the town's opinions are listened to for our children!!
    That's brilliant Lin - I'm so glad you're feeling inspired. This snowball is really taking shape now!! Bless ya lovely xx