Last Tuesday, April 1st, my community library – well the community library where I work – celebrated its first birthday.
Back in November 2012 the local council authority decided to close some of its libraries as a cost-cutting measure after they were given a huge amount that they had to save. Of course, the council didn’t say that this was the reason – they never do – but rather that it was part and parcel of a restructuring and modernisation of the library service. Pull the other one. But it’s not about that any more.
Upton Library was one of those ear-marked for closure and after about a year of uncertainty the countdown to closure began.
Then in March 2013 a local community, not-for-profit organisation called UNEF (Upton and North Elmsall Forum) received the keys to the building to take over the running of Upton Library transforming it into a community library hub running as a library as well as a community and learning centre and even had a small cafe installed serving hot and cold food and drinks.
Myself and another librarian were brought in to oversee the running of the community library on April 1st 2013. After several ups and downs and the huge task of getting the library back up and running, including putting over 7000 books onto the new catalogue system manually, the library made it to its 1st birthday.
The achievement is all the more remarkable given the trials and tribulations we’re been through getting it running and keeping it running.
But the hard work has paid off. The library is running excellently and we’re providing more services for the small community, which has been neglected for years by the local council authority. The feedback that we have received has been overwhelming enthusiastic and highly praiseworthy of the fact that we’ve kept the library open (a massive life-line for some people) and that we’re doing it so well.
Of course, our success could never have taken place without the grit and determination of the UNEF directors who fought to take it over, as well as the volunteers, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. The dedication that these volunteers have brought to the project is outstanding. And I give them my thanks and appreciation for their monumental efforts.
<< I would have posted sooner, but for some reason I’ve found myself to be super-busy this week and this has been the earliest opportunity that I’ve had to blog about Upton Community Library’s achievement. >>