Blog: Chairman of Friends of Market Drayton Library talks about volunteering
To celebrate Volunteers Week we are publishing a series of stories from the public and staff who volunteer across the county.
Today (Tuesday 4 June 2019) Mike Clegg, Chairman of the Friends of Market Drayton Library, tells us about their volunteering work.
The Friends of Market Drayton Library is a small volunteer group founded in 2013 to provide support to the library by organising events, raising funds and optimising the use of library facilities.
Since our formation we have arranged evenings talks by a number of local authors and organised speakers on a variety of subjects including, inter alia, the workings of the brain, military operations in Afghanistan, the geology of Shropshire, wartime code breaking, extreme weather and the Moon landings, as well as live performances of clarinet and Renaissance music. A particularly popular event has been our Man Booker Prize evening in which six volunteers each read, analyse and then present their critique of one of the six shortlisted books.
Attendance at events is limited by the space available in the library but averages around 30 people. Statistical analysis shows that positive responses to Quality of Life questions have averaged: 94% for learning, 97% for community, and 89% for physical and mental well-being, a satisfying confirmation of the community value of the events.
Numerous (and generally free) craft activities have also proved popular with adults and children alike, as have the children’s free weekly picnics organised during the school summer holidays. These latter are particularly labour-intensive, involving almost all the Friends on each occasion. Another free popular event is Jake Evans’ captivating story-telling sessions, aimed at children but also attracting many adults.
In addition to the Friends’ own activities we have arranged drama events for the Drayton Arts Fest, further publicised library activities with a manned stall at the Festival of Health and Well-being, and actively supported the library’s events as well as those of other community groups.
The Friends group is self-financing through entry fees charged for the main events and by income from book sales. This year a substantial donation was also made by one of the Friends. 50% of the income from book sales goes to the Library, as do ex gratia payments for specific library projects. In addition the Friends, in concert with the Market Drayton U3A Photography Group, has produced a set of high quality greetings cards for sale by the library.
Although not council staff, the volunteers of the Friends of Market Drayton Library are working closely with the librarian providing practical and financial support and publicising the library wherever and whenever possible. In so doing they provide a valuable link between the library and the wider population of Market Drayton.