Blog: Proud to make a difference
A blog by Heather Rodenhurst
I love my job as a team librarian for Shropshire Council. Every single day I see evidence of our libraries fulfilling a whole range of needs for local people, whether that’s enabling an octogenarian to get online themselves, delivering a set of books via the mobile library van to a far-flung reading group, or making a welcoming space for mums and babies to sing and read together. You can’t help but take pride in being part of the dedicated team manufacturing such brilliant ‘social glue’.
My role involves developing adult stock, and services for well-being and reading enjoyment, in our council-run and commissioned branches. I really enjoy spotting opportunities where libraries can make a difference and working with my colleagues and partners to get projects off the ground.
Developing our range of loanable memory bags has been a particular joy. Starting from a solid base provided by years of partnership work with Shropshire Reminiscence and the museum service, we’ve extended our collection of bags from the original five to 28 on a whole range of themes such as shopping, travelling, the world of work, and music. We think they’re a uniquely helpful addition to our services for people living with memory loss: portable, durable and entertaining, each bag contains a Pictures to Share book, together with themed objects and conversation starters.
Anyone with a Shropshire Libraries card can borrow or request a bag free of charge, have it delivered to their nearest branch and keep it for 3-4 weeks. High loan rates and great feedback tell us that the bags provide stimulation and lift spirits for people right across Shropshire. Knowing that I’ve had a hand in that makes all the difference to me.
Future plans include the development of our Books Aloud programme of relaxing reading sessions for adults, co-ordinating our events for Mental Health Awareness Week in May, and bringing The Reader Organisation’s fantastic Shared Reading bibliotherapy programme to the Hamar Centre at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. I’m looking forward to it all.