Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February, libraries are allowed to reopen from 12 April. Oxfordshire Library Service staff have already been in contact with FOGL to arrange a meeting in March to discuss the necessary next steps for safe reopening. All Friends will be contacted as soon as we have a confirmed date. The latest closure has provided an excellent opportunity for some work to be done internally, including touching up the paintwork and getting the windows professionally cleaned.
Easter Fun: Some Sleuthing Required
Some nefarious individual has been stealing vegetables from Mr McGregor’s garden! The only way to track down the villain is to find all the letters on display in houses around the village and rearrange them to spell out the culprit’s name. A map showing the locations of the letters will be available on www.fogl-oxon.co.uk in March and entries can be posted through the library door. There will be a prize draw on Saturday 17th April at 1pm.
Seeking Book Recommendations
I’m sure that many of you have been using the various lockdowns over the past year to catch up on your reading. Kate is keen to hear your recommendations as she would like to make a display of the most popular books in the Goring Gap when the library reopens. If we don’t have a copy of the book, then she can add it to her list for purchase using FOGL funds. Last year she was unable to buy any books but now she is compiling a shopping basket of titles and is always looking for inspiration. Please drop her a line at email@example.com and let her know what you’ve loved reading over the last year. I can heartily recommend the Slough House series of spy novels by Mick Herron: thrilling, humorous, with a superb cast of characters and written in a spare, clean prose.
Annual Subscriptions & Gift Aid
Last year the committee decided not to ask for subscriptions from our membership. However as we look towards the library reopening and the hopeful resumption of normal activities, we will once again be asking you for a donation towards the running of the library. We intend to send out letters once the library is back open and, for the first time, we are also planning to claim Gift Aid and the relevant forms will be sent out at the same time. We will be able to claim Gift Aid for the previous 4 years and our new Treasurer, Andrew Smith, will be working with Jo Nicolson, our Membership Secretary, to submit the relevant paperwork to HMRC.
Annual General Meeting
Since time immemorial the AGM for the Friends of Goring Library has been held in the Spring and we had hoped to fall back into the old ways this year. Plainly it will be quite a while before we can all meet in person and the committee would infinitely prefer this form of meeting to one held over Zoom. As such, we plan to hold the AGM in September again this year. Apart from anything else, we might have some activity to report on if we wait until then.
Seeking Tree Recommendations!
This year’s Summer Reading Challenge for children is called Wild World Heroes and will be a celebration of reading, nature and action for the environment. To tie-in with this theme, Kate is planning to set up a trail around Goring featuring special trees. They can be of particular personal or historical interest or just beautiful and majestic. She hopes to get the details of 10 trees that she can put on a map to post on the FOGL website. If you have a tree you would like to include then please send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All trees need to be visible from a public footpath or on open access land.
Contact the Committee
If this newsletter has raised more questions than it’s answered, or if you have any library related thoughts or ideas, then do drop us a line at email@example.com. It would be lovely to hear from you.
Chair, Friends of Goring Library
Call for Volunteers
Residents across Oxfordshire have continued to benefit from the county’s home library service during the pandemic with 8,364 library books being delivered from April to December 2020.
Oxfordshire County Council’s home library service is offered free to users in partnership with Age UK to almost 800 residents of all ages. These residents are unable to visit libraries themselves through frailty, infirmity or a disability and have no other means of getting access to loaned products. It is also available to full-time carers and those who might need the service in the short-term following illness or hospitalisation.
The service depends on a team of around 180 volunteers who supply the users with loan items on visits every three weeks. The service matches its volunteers carefully to specific residents to allow the same volunteer to visit each time. During the pandemic the number of volunteers has dropped linked to the impacts of COVID-19.
Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: "The home library service has continued to play a vital role during the pandemic for those who cannot access libraries with books and other cultural resources provided by the council.
"As well as council staff, I would like to thank the dedication of our team of staff and volunteers who keep this service running and offer a very valuable resource to our residents who may otherwise be isolated. The home library service is about far more than books; it offers real and meaningful connections with residents whose needs may otherwise go unnoticed. Wherever you may live in Oxfordshire, the service would welcome new volunteers to help keep up the good work."
Recent survey feedback (48 responses) underlines the real value its users find from the service. The survey was aimed customers who have no volunteers free in their area or who are awaiting a volunteer to take over once their application has been completed.
Home visits are supported by COVID-19 safety measures with staff wearing face coverings, gloves and/or hand sanitiser and remaining at least two metres at all times from customers to keep people safe. All items collected are quarantined for 72 hours before being allowed back into the library.
Residents can volunteer to join the home library service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01865 810259.
Oxfordshire County Council libraries are now providing home access to Ancestry Library Edition. This is courtesy of Proquest and their partner Ancestry. For licensing reasons, this is slightly different from other online services in that you will need to sign into your Library Account and click on the Ancestry link in order to gain access.