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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Milford on Sea Community Library Update

An update from Jill Neill, Volunteer Coordinator – MOS Community Library

Have you ever asked the question “What happened next?”  Like many people, your answer will have been “yes”, because lots of us have an abiding interest in what makes human beings tick, why they do the things they do and what happens to them afterwards. It is the stuff of many novels, plays and films. So, to cut to the chase, as they say in all good movies, this is the latest chapter in the life of Milford on Sea Community Library.

It was in April 2015 that Hampshire County Council relinquished both financial support and the day to day running of what is now Milford on Sea Community Library. I must say that Hampshire’s Community Librarians were an inspiration and a lifeline in the early days, training volunteers, answering endless queries, suggesting strategies and keeping us supplied with many lovely books for our readers. Thank you, Sharon and Ann.

Being a Community Library means that we have to pay rent for our premises and provide volunteer staff to cover all shifts, whilst Hampshire continues to rotate our stock and send a visiting librarian once a week. So our interesting story began with the Milford Village Association giving us a rent free year in which to raise funds and learn how to be a library! 

This was initially daunting, but we experienced such huge support from both village residents and organisations that we were able to start paying hall rental in 2016. So thank you to all those people who sang in concerts, donated money, time or expertise, came to coffee mornings, entertainments,  bag sales, cake sales, book sales, plant stalls, dinosaur and “Revolting Recipes” afternoons – we could not have done this without you.

The “community” part of our title is important, so we have welcomed both Rainbows and school reception classes. In addition we were thrilled when Churches Together in Milford suggested we should open during their regular Thursday coffee morning. This means that we are open every weekday and generally on the first Saturday of each month. On Mondays “Knit and Natter” meet during the Library session and a number of these ladies are also volunteers.

Quite simply, our Library could not function without the volunteers who work regularly on a day which suits them. We have a four monthly rota, a system of team leaders for each day and an organising committee of seven people. The system is designed to cover holidays and emergencies and whilst we have had the odd glitch, it is settling down. If you’d like to help, please give me a ring!

One of the things many volunteers really enjoy is getting to know our readers. Some people keep meticulous records of every book they have ever read and eagerly await a new publication by a favourite author. Others ask our advice, or give us theirs. Sharing reading likes and dislikes forms a major part of our library interaction.  Recently, we have set up a reading group and the four books we have read so far have yielded interesting discussions on slavery, female emancipation, forensic science and brittle bone disease.

On 10th September 2016 we are planning a new venture – a writers’ workshop. This whole day event (10 – 4 p.m.) is for aspiring authors seeing to unlock their creative potential. Leading the day is Sandra Cain, Founder-Director of Wordshaker UK and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing; she is a regular contributor at writing festivals and international conferences. So do join us for an inspiring day: Cost £30, including tuition, lunch, refreshments and a useful information pack with Sandra’s tips on where to begin, writing techniques, how to get published and so on. Further information and booking forms are available from Milford on Sea Library or you can email and we will send you the details.

What happens next? Who knows? But you can find out more on our Facebook page: or simply drop in to see us!

Jill Neill, Volunteer Coordinator – MOS Community Library.

Library opening times: 
Monday and Tuesday 2.30—5.00pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am—12.30pm
First Saturday each month 10am—12.30pm (except January and November)

Milford on Sea Community Library
The Village Hall, Park Road, Milford on Sea SO41 0QU
Tel: 07950 941818 (Opening hours only)

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