In the last couple of years the library of Waddesdon School has been completely refurbished and the students of the school have benefited immensely from this. Rather than a quiet room where few venture, it is a social hub which pulsates with students of all ages reading, studying and spending time together. However, on the whole these past few years have not been kind to libraries and this has led to librarians and library staff needing to think more creatively to keep those doors open. This is where the idea for the Community Library Project came from; a dual purpose library using the wonderful resources and space of a school library in addition to the skills and passion of the staff becoming a service for the whole community.
As libraries are primarily centres of education we will offer online literacy classes, with Silver Surfer courses for the over 55s and Staying Safe Online classes for everyone interested. Once a month the Community Library will hold a “Job Night,” where the School Careers Adviser will offer advice, CV writing tips and help with interview technique. Within the library there will be an area with internet access dedicated to getting members of the public into and back into work. The space itself has fantastic potential for the community to get together and use, with social groups such as book clubs and film nights already planned. Of course, there will be a range of appropriate books on offer in the hope of cultivating and sustaining a love of reading within the community.
So the Community Library is not detrimental to the education of the students, it will open once the students have left the school site. We plan for there to be some crossover where students and members of the village can work together and learn from each other but this will happen at planned events. It would be a shame for such a wonderful opportunity to go a miss.
The Waddesdon Community Library Project seeks to bring the school and the wider community together and to learn from each other. With the nearest library almost ten miles away it can be difficult for many to visit and use the services on offer. We hope to bridge the gap between the people of Waddesdon and a county library, offering some similar services and a gateway to others.
The Community Library Project has the potential to develop and grow over the years in various ways. For the library to become fully sustainable, a team of volunteers from the school and wider community will be trained to run the library, each bringing with them a specific and varied skillset, adding to the dynamic environment. Developing partnership with other local organisations and libraries would enhance the service and reach more people in the wider community. The Community Library Project would also act as a forerunner and a project which groups from other communities could hopefully use as a template in their own towns.