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Friends of Oundle Library AGM 2019

We held our AGM on 7 March 2019.
Article text
The Friends of Oundle Library (FOOL) was formally constituted in 2011, and on 7 March we held our 8th Annual General Meeting.

Many of our committee have served for several years and this year our Chair (Ann Guy) and Secretary (Jenny Smith) stepped down. They will remain on the committee and Charlotte Williams has been appointed as the new Secretary. And while we look for a new Chair, the committee agreed that, for the time being, everyone would take turns to chair the monthly meetings.

At the AGM, Ann Guy reminded everyone that Oundle Library has now been formally confirmed as part of Northamptonshire’s statutory library provision. This means it will remain open, and it will continue to be financed, managed, staffed and supported by the county’s Library Service. After all the uncertainties and pressures of the past 18-months this is a huge relief to the FOOL committee, and it means FOOL can get back to doing what it was set up to do.

So why do we need Friends?
The Friends of Oundle Library exists to support the library in any way we can. And although the FOOL committee steers things along, it’s really critical that our wider Friends’ group continues to flourish. A large and healthy Friends group is a powerful demonstration of local support for our public library, so do please encourage people to join us!

The FOOL committee has two key work objectives, the first of which is to raise money. The cornerstone of our fundraising is our annual Scenes Around Oundle calendar, supported by local businesses. This continues to sell well and, together with money raised through other projects, means we maintain a healthy bank balance. In turn, this allows us to respond quickly to requests for help, whether it’s to purchase supplies for craft activities at the library, or pay for new furniture and equipment.

The second work objective is to raise awareness of Oundle Library in our local community, and to encourage more people to visit and enjoy it. Accordingly, we organise events and activities, from talks and performances in the library, to things like Blind Date With A Book, where local shops help us to promote the library in the town centre.

Going further
In a broader sense the FOOL committee also spearheads initiatives, as evidenced by our recent campaign for book donations. The response to this has been fantastic and more than 1,000 donated books have been added to the library catalogue for people to borrow. Donated books that are not required for the library shelves are sold to raise money for the library. It’s a win-win situation, and we're enormously grateful to everyone who donated books and continues to support us.

People making a difference
At our AGM, Ann Guy thanked all our volunteers and helpers. Special mentions for David and Sue Wilkinson who tend the library garden and donate plants for the troughs, together with Penny Mayhew and Dave Garvey; to Jan Pearson who maintains the FOOL Facebook page and runs the Family History Help Desk; to Anne Brown who runs the French Language Café; to the volunteer drivers who deliver books to the housebound; and to all the volunteers who give their time to help with shelving and stock management etc. Without the support of volunteers Oundle Library would be a very different place.

She also made special mention of Oundle's U3A and the different groups which help us with events at the library. We know we are lucky to have so many talented and knowledgeable people supporting us.

The year ahead
Looking ahead, the FOOL Committee wants to help make Oundle Library buzz again. There’s no doubt the uncertainties and changes of the past 18 months knocked customer confidence that our library would survive. But now we’ve come through this we need to remind everyone how wonderful our library is – and that it’s still there! In the coming months, we’ll be working to raise the profile of Oundle Library. And behind the scenes, we’ll be working to build our online presence on Facebook and on our website, where the Book Blogs we launched last year are developing their own following.

We will also continue to organise events at the library. We welcome ideas for these, so do please get in touch if you have some suggestions. You can click here to send us an email.

It's free to be a Friend, so if you'd like to join us please click here.