Wickham Market: Library volunteers mark to successful years

Friends of Wickham Market Library volunteers

Friends of Wickham Market Library volunteers - Credit: Archant

A celebration is being held to mark the achievements of volunteers in increasing library usage through two years of community action.

The Friends of Wickham Market Library will be rewarding members with a small party on Thursday, May 1, after its efforts helped double visitor numbers and increase withdrawals through longer opening.

Friends chairman John Sculpher said: “It’s a huge success story and what’s quite unique about Wickham Market is that we are the only library locally to use volunteers to staff the library in this particular way,” he said.

“We’ve got a very good library building so the focus now is to see it used more for a wider range of activities such as computer courses, and group sessions. It’s about reaching out and drawing more people in.”

The Friends became involved in library staffing two years ago in response to concerns about the “random” opening hours, which they felt was hindering visitors.

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Previously, the library opened on Tuesday mornings, Wednesday afternoons, Friday afternoons, on Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.

Through the work of 30 volunteers, giving up their time once or twice a month, the library was able to open between 10am and 6pm from Tuesday to Friday, with the weekend hours remaining unchanged.

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“The problem was they were such a random collection of opening times that people were often unsure about when to visit,” Mr Sculpher said.

“The fact that there is now a more consistent opening has made such a difference and we have received a lot of very positive feedback from the visitors.”

The number of people visiting during the visitor-run periods has doubled over its two-year history, with book withdrawals also increasing over the same period.

Mr Sculpher has also thanked library manager Lesley Clouting for her support

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