After much hard work from local community volunteers, we opened our doors on Wednesday December 16th 2015, as Leicester Forest East Community Library.
This was the result of a lot of meetings, planning and discussions and liaison with the Local Authority, over a period of a year.
From the start of 2015, we arranged volunteer meetings; we addressed the question of whether it was possible to take over a local authority run resource. Were local people capable of gaining the expertise to run the project?
Not just that, we were required to eventually generate the finance to pay the bills; to be self financing! A tall order!
After discussions with L.C.C. we put a plan together and had our bid to run the library accepted. On Monday 14th December 2015 at 10.00 a.m. we officially accepted the keys and took over ownership of the library on behalf of the community.
The first week saw the beginning of a new era for Leicester Forest East Community Library. The meetings, the planning, the late nights around the table, it all came to fruition, and we were up and running!
A lot of thought and planning has gone into managing our new project.
At first the Steering Committee did its job in taking us towards the opening date, and then the Management Team took over.
Along the way we have seen changes to the team. As would be expected with such a demanding and stressful project we have lost good people along the way. We thank these members for their dedication and hard work in the initial stages of setting up the library.
We now have a management team in place; who are all trustees of the library. We have Duty Managers to take responsibility for each shift and we are about to welcome more trusted members to our team. Additional Key Holders will ease the burden of opening up, and we are currently talking to interested parties to join us as Trustees. We are always on the lookout for other like minded individuals to join us.
There is a steady trickle of new volunteers, which we must have to continue operations. We also need help in specialist areas such as fundraising, grant applications and event promotion and co-ordination. Do get in touch if you can help. The only necessary prerequisite is that volunteers must have enthusiasm and a commitment to the ongoing success of the library.
Future developments and improvements to the service we offer is only possible with the help of the community. We hope to achieve our target of becoming a community hub, a meeting place for the wider community of Leicester Forest East.
The last six months have been busy. Our Management Team has organised the structure to provide a safe and happy environment for volunteers to work in. There is a rota system to allow us the choice to come in when it suits us and for the time that we have available. Week by week the line up alters dependent on availability.
LFE Community Library continues to provide the usual library services, we also offer the use of computers or wi-fi to members, accessible with your membership card.
Recently we have developed a small cafe area with freshly ground coffee available for you to enjoy whilst seated on one of our luxurious settees.
There is also a flexible seated area where students have utilised the calm peaceful atmosphere to revise for exams.
We are aiming to provide what local people want. You can expect a welcoming friendly environment where people of all ages can meet and socialise with their friends.
There is a constant need for volunteers, so we now offer in house training at the library.
Since opening, we have introduced many new activities and initiatives. Every Wednesday morning there is a Social Coffee Group for senior citizens. On a Wednesday evening, there is a Crafting Group meeting. We hold a Mother and Baby Group on a Thursday morning, in addition, an art and craft activity table is always available for pre-school and school age children to enjoy and be creative!
Our group meetings have been very successful and enjoyable for participants.
We are now in a position to hire out the facilities at the library, during and outside of our normal opening hours. For more details, look on our website, phone us or call in to the library. Ask to speak to a Duty Manager who will give you more details.
It is sometimes hard to believe that we have made such progress, but we still have a long way to go. We are part funded by the local authority currently, but will need to be self funded in the future. We have exciting plans ahead in order to make this possible.
Do get in touch if you wish to be involved. You may be keen to work in the library or have specialist skills that we need. Call in or email us. You are welcome any time for a chat and look round.
See you soon!