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Suffolk Libraries Extra supporters' scheme funds exciting new projects

{% include /c/figure.html alt="Three girls coding on laptops" src="/images/featured/featured-coder-dojo-1.jpg" caption="Children had the opportunity to learn basic coding at Ipswich County Library's CoderDojo last week" %}

Several library projects have recently received funding from Suffolk Libraries Extra, the supporters' fundraising scheme we launched last year.

The scheme, which offers individuals and local businesses the chance to make an annual donation to provide some ‘extra’ support to our service, has raised over £5,000 so far. Monies raised are placed in a development fund to help libraries provide extra services or initiatives in their communities.

Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: "I’m delighted that we’ve been able to fund such a wide range of innovative and exciting projects through the Suffolk Libraries Extra Initiative. We launched this scheme to harness the amazing support we have from customers and the great ideas that our staff come up with.

"We’re very grateful to everyone who has signed up to support the scheme so far and I hope to see it develop further in future."

Libraries were recently invited to apply for the first round of funding and a variety of exciting initiatives across the county have been awarded a total of £1,600. The rest of the money will be made available in further funding rounds later in the year. The projects which have received funding so far are as follows:

Aldeburgh Library

During the last year Aldeburgh Library has created resources and a dedicated Memory Corner for those suffering with memory loss, using memorabilia donated by customers to stimulate conversations and reminiscences. It will be using its Extra funding to purchase a variety of themed memory kits which can be borrowed by customers. This project could be introduced in other libraries in the future.

Bungay Library

Bungay Library is planning to run an outreach project, with library staff visiting local schools and nurseries. This will help to promote the library’s services and events in the local community by reaching out to new customers and encouraging more families and children to become library members.

Haverhill Library

Haverhill Library is planning to put its Extra funding towards three new laptops. This will supplement funding from the Friends of Haverhill Library, which will make up the bulk of the cost. The new computers will give more flexibility to the library’s established Family History activities and Coding Club. They will also be used at sessions providing IT support and advice for customers.

Ipswich County and Stoke Libraries

{% include /c/figure.html alt="A boy coding on a laptop" src="/images/featured/featured-coder-dojo-2.jpg" caption="A young customer learns to code on the new laptop at Ipswich County Library's CoderDojo last week" %}

Working together, these two Ipswich libraries have used their Extra funding to buy a new laptop for their CoderDojo activities. This project builds on Ipswich County Library’s already established and popular Code Clubs.

CoderDojo sessions make coding more accessible and fun; encouraging children to create websites and games. Both libraries are planning to work in partnership with Ipswich MakerSpace and IJYI, a local software company. The first CoderDojo event was held at at Ipswich County Library last week.

Newmarket Library

Newmarket Library have recognised that there is a need to provide more basic IT training to older people in the community. In partnership with a local adult education centre, the Extra funding is helping to provide supported IT sessions with a trained tutor. These sessions are aimed at people who currently feel socially isolated without the skills to use modern technology to remain in contact with family members and friends.

Stradbroke Library

Staff at Stradbroke Library are working in conjunction with Suffolk County Council and Age UK to create an open monthly café for local people affected by dementia in the community café space next to the library, allowing those with memory loss and their carers to meet, relax and socialise. During the sessions there will also be support and advice available. Suffolk Libraries Extra funding is helping to provide additional library staff time to help run and co-ordinate these sessions and encourage people to make use of library services.

The scheme has also led to local genealogy company Anglia Research donating around £1,400 for specific improvements at Kesgrave Library.

Suffolk Libraries Extra has three membership levels: Silver (£20), Gold (£50) and Platinum (£150). There are currently 150 members, who get a regular newsletter with tips and recommendations from our stock team, the chance to enter exclusive competitions and a free sound and vision loan. You can join online or sign up at your local library or on 01473 351249.