Annual Report 2017
"2017 started off uncertainly with the continuation of the PwC-led review of the library service. There were some difficult conversations with officers and Committee members from Education, Sport and Culture about the Guille-Allès Library budget and Trustees’ funds, but the year came to an end with few changes to the current arrangement.
Looking back over the year, there were many positive moments, not least the commencement of the Children’s Library Project. There has been a tremendous amount of effort put into PR and fund-raising and it was heartening to gain the support of our four main sponsors – the Swimarathon, Sarah Groves Foundation, Ana Leaf Foundation and John Ramplin Trust. This level of support confirms the library’s role in the community as a service for all but also, importantly, a place where children can learn to love books and reading."
Laura Milligan, Chief Librarian
Facts and Figures
Visitors remain around the same level as 2016 figures. This represents an average daily footfall of about 480 people.
New Members are up from 2,064 in 2016 to 2310 in 2017.
The number of loans of books and other physical items increased by just over 4,000.
Registered users for the e-book and e-audiobook service rose from 1,224 at the start of the year to 2,604 at the end of the year. The number of digital loans, including digital magazines and comics rose from 5,500 to almost 15,500.
Our Facebook page has just under 2,000 likes and page visits have averaged at about 100 each week. Views of posts have ranged between 700 and 7,000.
We published 340 tweets in 2017 and increased our follower numbers to just over 1,500.
Bookface Friday posts continue to be popular on Instagram, on which we have more than 1,300 followers.
We continue to add to our series of podcasts with 14 interviews taking place during 2017, with a special highlight being Chris Riddell, the then Children's Laureate and ardent supporter of libraries.
Latest from Instagram
In November 2016, the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture informed the Chief Librarian that the public library service would be reviewed by PwC as part of a budget prioritisation exercise. The Library service took part in several panel presentations focusing on costs of different service areas and discussion around suggestions for efficiencies and income generation.The final report was published in May 2017 but it contained no significant recommendations for the public library service. It was, however, a useful exercise as it helped to highlight some efficiencies that we have taken forward ourselves.
One of the most exciting projects during the year has been 'The Children’s Library Project', the purpose of which is to redesign the Children’s Library to make better use of space, giving future generations of Island children better access to learning resources and all the benefits of reading for pleasure in a fun, safe and engaging space. As the proposed works are beyond the scope of the Guille-Allès Trust's budget the extra funding required has been sought during 2017 through a programme of fund-raising and sponsorship opportunities. Following a tendering process and detailed discussions with contractors it was agreed to do the work in two stages, with the initial preparation and enabling works to take place in early 2018 and the decoration and fitting out of shelving towards the end of the year.
The refurbishment of the Dorey Room (formerly the Music Room) was also completed in March 2017. This space is now well used as a meeting and study room..
Towards the end of 2017 we introduced a new automated email notification which is sent to anybody with a registered email address whose registration is coming up to its expiry date. The email will prompt them to renew their membership by return email or by telephone and will remind them of all the services the Library has to offer.
Events & Activities
Harry Potter Night took place for the second time on 2nd February. The event was attended by more than 800 people, which was quite overwhelming. Activities took place in all public areas of the library, including the Story Tower. The evening was a remarkable success and there was a lot of positive feedback on social media and in person from people who attended.
“Can I just say what an amazing event this was. Both my girls (age 9 & 10) had a fantastic time and didn’t want to leave. You’d thought of every detail and made Hogwarts come to life! A massive than you to the organisers. Well done.” (Facebook comment)
John Gaisford from Guernsey History in Action was kind enough to participate in several evening tours of the library playing the character of Mr Linwood Pitts, former founding member of staff, on the centenary of his death. The tour was a great chance for people to visit the library after hours and learn about the history of the building.
Members of the Guille-Allès staff together with Schools’ Library Service staff attended this year’s Well-being Fayre at the Grammar School to promote the Reading Well scheme.
The Library participated in the Guernsey Heritage Festival for the first time this year with regular Spring half-term activities and a Saturday family day focused around the Myths and Legends theme.
We worked with Linda Le Vasseur to suppport Dying Matters Week by purchasing some new stock and creating a thought-provoking display in the Entrance Hall with information leaflets and a board inviting the public to write their thoughts underneath the saying, “Before I die I would like to…”
The library received 144 free books from the Reading Agency to give away as part of their World Book Night initiative. Four successful book give-away events were held during the week with free books given to staff and users of mental health services at Oberlands, older people who were guests at a soup lunch at Holy Trinity Church, prisoners and their families during family visiting time and the general public visiting the Market Square during Fresh Friday.
The Guernsey Literary Festival took place during May, and this year Library staff were asked to be part of the steering committee meetings leading up to the event. The Festival recorded its highest levels of attendance since it began, and several events were hosted or supported by Library staff including workshops, lectures, children’s activities, and outreach events with the Prison and the Genats Estate. In particular we were thrilled to host an event for Chris Riddell, the Children’s Laureate, who is a staunch supporter of libraries.
We were given the opportunity to make use of the OSA pop-up shop in Mill Street for one week, during which we had a promotional display in the window promoting the Children’s Library Project.
We once again took part in Town Carnival, providing stories for children in Market Square (weather permitting!) or in the Inner Market Street.
As usual, we had a stall at the North and West shows and the Viaer Marché where we provided stories and activities for children. We also collaborated this year with Guernsey Museums to hold a story time at the Rocquaine Regatta.
Staff took part in the Swimarathon to show support and to encourage donations, as the Children’s Library Project was this year's recipient. Once again, the Library won the trophy for the public service which raised the most money.
The Children’s Library team held a Forest TOTs session at the Guet with 30 families attending. Outdoor educational activities are increasingly popular, and we received great feedback from the parents that came and will look to repeat this event in the future.
International Games Day took place on Saturday 4th November. The library partnered with Meeple People, Loading Bar and Just Games Guernsey for a successful day of gaming which included board games, video games and even tea duelling!
We were approached to host an event for the launch of Zoffany’s Daughter. The event, which proved to be a real success, included the author, Stephen Foster, presenting the story, which is based on a true incident in Guernsey and the Living History Group staging of a dramatic re-enactment of some of the pivotal scenes from the novel.
For the second year in a row, the Library took part in Fun Palaces on Saturday 6th October. This year the event was held in collaboration with Guernsey Museums, consequently we had a much wider demographic of attendees, with many adults attending to learn something new. We had roughly double the normal footfall for a Saturday.
Neil the Storytelling Elf emerged to read Christmas stories to about 290 children at either the Winter fayre at Castle Cornet, in the Children's Ward at the hospital, in Market Square for the switching on of the Christmas lights and the late-night openings leading up to Christmas. He also went on the airwaves to read a Christmas story live on Radio Guernsey.
Community & Outreach
Our Outreach Librarian worked with the Literary Festival Committee to organise two very successful events in the prison this year. Sir Terry Waite spoke to an audience of about 80 people, including prisoners, officers, the Prison Governor, and several States members. L J Flanders, an ex-offender and author of ‘Cell Workout’, also ran a very successful motivational workshop.
The Outreach Service also continued to be involved in the Incredible Years programme, running literacy-based sessions for parents as well as visiting Homestart and the Kindred Family Centre encouraging families to read together and use the library service.
The new Bright Beginnings centre at Delancey, was opened by Every Child Our Future this year and we are working with them to run a weekly rhyme-time as part of a ‘stay and play’ event for families as well as talking to new parents about library services and the benefits of reading and singing with your baby as part of the ‘Baby Hub’.
The Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation kindly sponsored 100 Neontatal Bookbags containing 2 books, rhymes and information about the importance of how reading and rhyming to your baby when they are in Special Care can be a positive bonding experience. These were put together by library staff in collaboration with staff from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Our outreach work was highlighted in an article for the States’ ‘Changing Times’ magazine published in June, providing a great opportunity to raise awareness of our services to a wider audience.
In collaboration with Autism Guernsey, two support groups were set up at the library including a parent/carer drop-in support group and an Autism Teen Group. Library staff undertook some training with Autism Guernsey and the library hopes to gain accreditation as an Autism Friendly Library.
The Library continues its membership of Dementia Friendly Guernsey and during 2017 Library staff spoke to members of the Dementia Guernsey Carers Group to inform them of relevant library services.
La Nouvelle Maraitaine Community Library changed its opening hours slightly as a result of usage trends during this year and now holds two children’s activity sessions a week during term time as they have proved so popular. The community library has been running a weekly IT drop-in session with the help of two volunteers and has also been experimenting with Shared Reading as an activity for adults in this setting.
During the summer a programme of improvements took place at Styx (formerly Western Community Centre). The new mission of the centre incorporates community health and wellbeing and the Community Library continues to be a popular and valued service. The Library team worked alongside the new management to host a Pop-Up Café at Christmas, run by Beacons Café, which offers an opportunity for people who are accessing mental health services at the PEH to gain skills and confidence.
A Sark Community Library has been established with a starter collection of children’s books and adult fiction books. These are currently housed in the Sark power station reception area and are available during office hours.
The Outreach Librarian visited the weekly pre-school and toddler groups in Alderney to provide story and rhyme time sessions for the children. These were very successful and the plan is to continue a regular programme of visits.
‘National Volunteers Week’ was celebrated for the second year running with an award presented to Rod Le Poidevin, who volunteers every week at The Bridge Community Library and has managed the service since July 2014.
2018 will be an exciting and demanding year as we manage the refurbishment of the Children’s Library. There will be considerable upheaval, but the outcome will be a beautiful, new and exciting space for children to enjoy.
A new Strategic Plan has been drawn up for the next three years. In the plan a number of themes have been identified which underpin the goals and objectives for the future: –
Good customer service
Minimizing barriers when using the library
Keeping up to date with technology
Offering a range of services that people want
Strengthening the collection
Community engagement and partnerships
Strong community presence via the website and social media
Supporting lifelong learning