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Friends of Halesworth County Library

Our aims

  • To promote Halesworth Library as a vital part of the community
  • To raise funds to develop the range of services at Halesworth Library
  • To contribute to the development of the library service across Suffolk

The Trustees

  • Chair and acting events co-ordinator: Alison Britton
  • Vice chair: Sheila Freeman
  • Treasurer: David Borer
  • Minutes secretary: Evelyn Lindqvist
  • Trustee: Nigel Frostick
  • Trustee: Natalie Lloyd-Evans
  • Trustee (ex officio): Julie Gulliver (library manager)
  • Trustee: Yvonne Sandison
  • Trustee: Irene Thomas

Contact us

  • Tel: 01986 875 095
  • Email: friendsofhalesworthlibrary@gmail.com
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Get involved with the Friends

Are you passionate about our library services? Would you like to feel more involved in what happens within Halesworth Library, supporting it in the face of gradually reducing central funding? If so, we are always looking for new Friends.

Maybe you already support us as a library user. As a Friend you could do more, and your involvement can be as little or as much as you like. By simply signing up as a Friend, you become an advocate for the library and part of a visible group of supporters.

You can also become more involved and have a bigger say in how the library is supported by the Friends group. You can contribute your own ideas to help shape the library for the future.

If you’d like to join us, please complete the membership application form below, or pick up a paper copy in the library.

Membership is free, but we appreciate donations. You can make an electronic payment to 40-23-04 81263528 quoting ‘donation’ as the reference, use the form below, or simply pop into the library with cash or a cheque.

Hard copies of all the forms should be returned to: Halesworth Library, Bridge Street, Halesworth, IP19 8AD.

How you can become an active member

Once you’re a member, you can help in a variety of ways:

  • One-off actions:
    • Recruiting more Friends to the group - if everyone recruited one new member, we could double in size from 500 to 1,000!
    • Signing up to the 100 Club for £1 a month
    • Making cash donations of any size (don’t forget to add Gift Aid!).
  • Occasional actions:
    • Donating items to our regular sales, raffles and annual Antiques Street Market stall
    • Approaching local businesses for raffle prizes
    • Buying and selling raffle tickets
    • Attending and helping out at our events. Why not tell or bring a friend?
    • Helping out at our stalls and sales
    • Taking photos at our events and sharing them
    • Directing others to the information on the Halesworth Library webpage or Halesworth Library Facebook page.
  • Regular actions:
    • Making/baking refreshments for events
    • Designing posters and writing copy
    • Distributing posters to village hall/pub/local noticeboards
    • Suggesting/approaching local newsletters, magazines and websites where we could advertise our information
    • Coming up with ideas and planning events as part of our Events Group
    • Offering lessons, or organising groups and activities relating to your skills/interests
    • Helping us with our admin
    • Keeping the Friends’ noticeboard up to date
    • Becoming a trustee.

The story so far

The Friends of Halesworth County Library was established in 2013 and registered with the Charity Commission that September as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registered Charity Number 1153765). This is a community group to support the library and raises funds for further development. We now have over 500 members.

The Friends is an ‘open’ organisation where all members are encouraged to bring forward ideas or suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the group and its contribution to the library and the community. The group’s aim is to support the manager, staff and volunteers of the library in their delivery of a comprehensive library system.

As well as our members we have a group of Trustees of the Friends who meet with the library manager every six weeks. Their role is to give support and advice on meeting the expenses involved in making improvements to the library and in purchasing new equipment for the use of library members.

In co-operation with library staff, the Friends organise two kinds of events:

  • Fundraisers for the ‘extras’ which help to make the library a welcoming community resource as well as a place to find books and information
  • A range of free and low-cost activities for the local community designed to entertain and educate, or just for fun and companionship. Some combine all four of these aims!

Friends’ support has helped great things to happen for the library:

  • Our biggest project, completed in July 2017, was the refurbishment of the Junior Library. The Friends paid for around 75% of this.
  • We purchased wheeled shelving for the book stock to replace some of the downstairs shelving. Now the downstairs area can be cleared for special events.
  • We paid for the library to be redecorated. We had new carpeting laid throughout and bought blinds for the mezzanine. These reduce sunlight during presentations, make the area cosier during the winter, provide an element of privacy and reduce noise.

Much of the above works would not have happened without the support of the Friends and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all Friends AND supporters for their contributions.

Achievements and successes

Below is just a sample of the things we have achieved since we were established in 2013.

Fundraising

  • Regular sales in the library, including a book sale and annual Christmas and Easter sales with very successful raffles
  • An annual plant sale in front of the library with support from the Halesworth Millennium Green Trust
  • An stall at the Halesworth Antiques Street Market annually since 2014
  • An established 100 Club
  • Weekly laptop and iPad one-to-one support sessions with all proceeds benefitting the library
  • Secured funding from Holton Parish Council, Blyford and Sotherton Parish Council and annually from Halesworth Town Council.

Purchases

  • Mobile wheeled shelving, enabling the library to host a wider range of events.
  • Full redecoration, new carpeting and blinds
  • We were the first Suffolk library to purchase iPads for loan
  • Installation of Wi-Fi in the library
  • Small enhancements such as a gazebo for external events, banners and Christmas decorations
  • Furniture and fittings that have enhanced the library’s appearance, including book display items, new chairs for the library counter, and a door decal suggesting some of the purposes of a library, which has been very popular
  • A shed to store chairs and sale stock
  • Chairs, tables, tablecloths, tea towels and china for events.

Events

  • A wonderful children’s event with former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell in 2015
  • Exciting science activities with Kinetic Adventure in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the library’s relocation to Bridge Street in 2016, featuring magic shows for children and adults
  • Popular quiz nights each spring and autumn
  • Monthly afternoon board games from September to July (started in 2015)
  • Half-term and holiday activities for school-age children, including Christmas celebrations
  • Two visits from the Sutton Hoo Roadshow in late 2018
  • Plays from visiting groups including QuirkHouse and Spinning Wheel theatre companies and an in-house murder mystery
  • A Sunday morning group providing conversation and refreshments to those who are lonely and/or bored on Sundays
  • Friends-only social events.

Ongoing plans

During 2017 we organised a successful drive to encourage more people to become Friends. We will continue to hold a regular stall to promote our work.

The refurbishment of the children’s library in 2017 provided great facilities for our younger customers.

In 2019 we have already reorganised the library to make it more welcoming, and made the space more flexible to accommodate our increasing number of activities. We have also been working on:

  • Improving the office and kitchen areas to make them more usable for staff and volunteers
  • Giving our lovely little garden a makeover, including creating space for library users to sit outside
  • Providing facilities and activities to help young adults get more out of the library
  • Helping elderly library members get to the library. We hope to find sources of funding to allow us to provide transport.

Minutes

Annual reports