Chair’s Annual Report 2017

At the Fifth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Wool Library, Chair Sue Kerr  presented the following report for 2016-7


The Friends of Wool Library (FOWL) has continued the management and running of Wool Community Library and successfully completed the fourth year of operation on 15 January 2017.  The occasion was marked by a volunteer event here in the McCullagh Suite, arranged by the Duty Co-ordinators.

The Library has continued to open 3 sessions per week on Tuesday afternoons, Thursday andSaturday mornings.  There have normally been three trained volunteers on duty per session supported by one of the Duty Co-ordinators. The Duty Co-ordinators are currently Pauline Diment, Annette Dyke, Sue Kerr and Jane Pearson, who form the operational management team.   This group meets twice a month, and reports back to the Trustees at their meetings.


The Committee/Trustees elected at the fifth AGM in 2016, are as follows:

          Chairman                  -      Sue Kerr

          Vice- Chairman          -      this position was left vacant at the last AGM and filled on an Acting basis by David Smith, who was elected as a member

          Secretary                  -      Jane Pearson

          Treasurer                  -      Annette Dyke

Committee Members   -      Alasdair Berrie, Eileen Osgood, Peter Green                                                                            and Pauline Diment

We also have the help and support of our Membership Secretary, Judith Beeby. Judith does such a lot for us – keeping Friends informed and making sure our membership database is up to date. I’d like to thank her for everything she’s done for us over the last year.

The Trustees meet every 2 months, with a special meeting in January to discuss strategy for the year ahead.  I’ll lay out our plans for 2017 later in the meeting.

Now, before I go any further, I need to record our dismay on hearing that our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Christine Reber, had, at the end of last summer, decided to stand down. Christine’s legacy is legendary: not just in the wonderful group of volunteers who run the library here in Wool, but also across the County and Libraries West, our new library authority. She was instrumental in setting up all the good practice that we now employ, and helping to design the training manual used by all the Community Libraries in Dorset. She did so much that it is impossible to thank her enough, so I will simply say “Great job, Christine and good luck in new ventures!”

As you might imagine, it has been difficult to fill Christine’s shoes, so at the moment, the 4 Duty Co-ordinators have split her responsibilities between them, and I’d like to thank Pauline, Annette and Jane for their help and support in keeping the library running smoothly.

Membership and Income

We are indebted to everyone who becomes a Friend, and this year our membership so far is 64 of which 13 are new members. Trustees took a decision to make membership fees £5 each this year, thus removing the previous benefit for couples of £8, as many people indicated that they would be happy to pay the slight increase. Income from subscriptions is vital to us so thank you to all our Friends. We’ve decided to run a membership drive in 2017 so please invite anyone you know to join us.

2016 aims

We said last year that we would focus on four aims:

1.     Development of Service

    We’ve set out to develop the library in several ways this year – by supporting particular groups with the Home Library Service and the Summer Reading Challenge, and by getting involved in running digital sessions for both young and not so young.

Following the closure of the mobile service, we anticipated that there might be a greater need for home deliveries, and our HLS team rose to the challenge, securing a Dorset Volunteer Group of the Year Award. Congratulations to them - thank you for all your hard work, Eileen and team.

To support the Summer Reading Challenge we opened the library on Wednesday mornings again from the end of July to the beginning of September, and although the number of children registering for the Challenge was down, this was reflected across the County. Nevertheless, 80 children signed up and about 80% completed the challenge, so thank you to everyone who did extra shifts, and encouraged the children to talk about their books. Thank you too, to the Children’s team, for running a series of very successful school visits. These are invaluable in introducing children to the library and reading, and they often result in children joining the library.

Supporting the digital initiative was a new experience for us, but we recently held a digital morning, with mini robots for the younger participants and a trained Dorset Digital Champion on hand to answer questions on anything from Skype to security online. The robots were on loan from Dorset Library Service and proved very popular, as did the piano run on Play-doh. We hope to have regular digital drop in sessions soon.

Regarding the library premises, we have had some issues with the heating of the library this winter, and we are aiming to address those with the Parish Council as soon as we can. We’ve also made some improvements to the layout of the library to improve the lighting for patrons choosing Large Print books.

However, the biggest item on our development wish list this year has been charitable status. Our application is ready and once the new constitution is agreed we will be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. You’ll hear more about this later in the meeting.

2.     Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers and Refresher Training

There was a major upheaval for volunteers during 2016 with the introduction of a new operating system for Dorset Libraries, as they joined the LibrariesWest consortium. Every volunteer had to have extra training sessions, and although we had a great deal of support from the Dorset Library staff, and our Community Library Liaison Officer, it was a challenging time for volunteers running Community Libraries throughout Dorset. Christine Reber headed up our training plans, but on her departure, Pauline Diment took on the role of making sure everyone knew the ropes, running extra sessions where necessary.  Thank you Pauline for an outstanding job.

We held a Summer Party for volunteers and their partners last year, which was much enjoyed by all, and was a chance for the Trustees to show how much they value the hard work of everyone who helps to run the library. Thanks to Annette for the loan of her lovely home in which to enjoy cucumber sandwiches and strawberries and cream.

The Trustees have reviewed the Safeguarding and Health and Safety Policies for volunteers, and where necessary, additional training or advice has been given. Peter Green has been advising us on Health and Safety and risk assessments and we are extremely grateful to him for all his work in this area.

3.     Fundraising

    Our annual Quiz and our stall at the Carnival helped to swell our coffers in 2016, but it is membership fees and income from business card advertising that really support our finances. We were sorry to lose Sharon Palmer who had previously led the initiative on business cards but we are hopeful to have found a new volunteer to help us in this area. I’d like to thank Sharon for all her hard work in setting up the business cards scheme and running it so successfully.


Wool Community Library continued to secure coverage on air and in print. There were pieces on BBC South, Radio Solent, Your Dorset and in the Echo. It’s often noted by our colleagues in other Community Libraries how often Wool is mentioned or interviewed, and we have David Smith to thank for penning the press releases that get noticed. Thank you, David. We are aware that the regular newsletter is no longer regular, and we’re looking into ways of rectifying that.

Meetings with Dorset Libraries and other Community Libraries.         

David Smith and I have met with Dorset Library Service and other Community Libraries as part of the ongoing conversation about the overall library service as it relates to Community run projects. We’ve noticed that we are increasingly being used as information hubs for the County, holding copies of consultations and surveys, and being included in projects on developing the service. We regard this as highly important in keeping Community Libraries in the forefront of thinking at County level, although we are mindful of the need to remind Dorset Library Service that we are all volunteers, and not every library can support every initiative. However, it is close contact with County that gives us the opportunity to borrow a set of mini robots at no charge, so we continue to work as closely with our County colleagues as we can. David is still convening meetings for all the Community Libraries and I am still a member of AdLib, the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries.

Meetings with the Parish Clerk

We have a good relationship with the Parish Council via the Parish Clerk, and we are working together to improve the library in whatever way we can. When we look ahead to the future of the library, we are extremely grateful for the backing of our Parish Council in our plans.

I’d like to thank all my fellow Trustees for their support in the last year. It’s been a challenging year for us all, and I’ve been grateful for the help I’ve been given. I’d like to say a special thank you to our Secretary, Jane Pearson, because she does so much, and most of it unsung. I certainly couldn’t do this job without her. Thanks for everything, Jane.

But I’m going to finish my report with a post from the Facebook page of the Wool Parish Clerk because it sums up why what we are doing is so important:

"In the Parish Office during the day on a Wednesday for a change, and can hear the Bovington school children reading and interacting. The library volunteers are amazing, not just a place to exchange books, but providing interactive sessions for local children - all volunteers and all providing a wonderful community service"

Thank you to all our Friends and volunteers

Wool Children Make Documentary

As part of the Summer Reading Challenge and its associated activities, Wool Community Library organised two video workshops to help five young patrons of Wool Community Library  make their own short documentary film about the Challenge. The children, aged from 10 to 14, operated the camera, recorded the sound and interviewed each other, as well as other patrons to explain how the Challenge works and why they were taking part.

The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual scheme, run by libraries throughout Britain, to encourage children to explore the world of books during their summer holidays. All they need to do is sign up at their local library and read 6 library books of their choice  while they collect stickers and other rewards along the way. It's all completely free and it doesn't stop when Summer is over. Children can now keep track of their reading,find new books to red, take part in competitions and play games all year round on the Summer Reading Challenge website (

This summer in Wool, 96 children signed up for the Challenge and ,by the end of September, 81 of these had completed it - an outstanding achievement for one of the smallest Community-Managed Libraries in Dorset, for which the volunteer lead  for the Friends of Wool Library for the Challenge, Chris Whish, can be rightly proud.

The childrens' film about the Challenge was edited for them by professional film-maker, Andrew Kerr who said, "All the children grasped the essentials very quickly. they understood the importance of steady camera work, of eliciting good information from the interviews and of complementing the facts with pictures. I was genuinely impressed"

An even warmer welcome to Wool Community Library

Great news.! There is an even warmer welcome to Wool Community Library with the installation of 3 new wall heaters which will keep you warm and cosy while you choose your books , use the free Public Access computers or just browse and chat to friends during these chilly winter months.

Funded jointly by the Parish Council, , D'Urberville Centre Management Committee and the Friends of Wool Library, the heaters are the latest improvement to the facility since the Library became community managed and volunteer-run. Heating in the Parish Clerk's Office has also been upgraded as part of the Scheme.

Shortly the loft space above will be insulated so that less of the precious heat will escape.!

Even more delightful is that the Library has received a festive makeover. Volunteers were hard at work on Sunday 1 December decorating the library with an appropriately Christmassy theme. Why not drop in and see for yourselves.?

Welcome to the new improved Library

Tuesday 10 September saw the Library open with a brand new look thanks to the new shelving we bought with the generous grant from Synergy. Volunteers worked all over the weekend to relocate books and make the library easier to use.


 As we reopened for business at 3 pm, Heather Watson, Chairman of the Neighbourhood Panel for Synergy was introduced by Chairman of FOWL Trustees, David Smith and symbolically cut a pink ribbon in front of an audience of volunteers and library users.

Users were immediately impressed by the new features, the clearer layout, the increased light,  the space to move about and voted it a "big improvement"

Come and see for yourselves. We are sure you will like it.! 

World Book Night Celebration Revisited

As we near our  six months of the Friends of Wool Library managing Wool Community Library, we are pleased to be able to revisit the celebration of our first 100 days in charge which was held on 23 April , World Book Night, courtesy of the short film made of the event.

For those of you who were unable to join us on the day, you can share the enjoyment of a splendid and historic occasion. Those of you who packed the hall on the day, relive the moment. It is a fine memento produced by talented and skilful members of the Friends.


World Book Night Poster

Lord Lieutenant's complimentary and inspiring words

The Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Mrs. Anthony Pitt-Rivers kindly visited the Friends of Wool Celebration event on 23 April ,met volunteers and unveiled  the new permanent sign for the Wool Community Library. A number of people have asked if the text of her address to the large gathering in the D'Urberville Hall could be made available and so, with her kind permission it is printed below.

" What could be a better, on 23 April – a particularly British Day of Celebration, to mark the 1st 100 days of your Community Library here in Wool.  And to hold this event as part of World Book Night, is even better, when thousands of volunteers will be distributing around half a million books books all over the country to encourage people who may not read – or have access – to books to open one, possibly for the first time …..& discover a new world.

I am delighted you have invited me to be with you for such a special occasion & think you have done brilliantly to make such progress in re-inventing your Library in less than 2 years. 

What you have done here for your community will inspire, give pleasure &, I hope, encourage the curiosity of existing & potential readers of all ages.  And I am so pleased that some of your celebrations this afternoon involve children & encourage them to read, know & use their library, now & in the future.  

My husband was taught to read by his mother, And, when she read to him, she always stopped at a crucial & exciting point in a story, so to know what happened next  he had to learn to read it for himself - & I don`t think he`s ever stopped reading since! 

One of the most heartening things about your project is that it has come about due to some very dedicated volunteers.  

And, how would this  & so many other vital parts of our lives, function without Volunteers?  They are the backbone of our Society & without them a lot of things would not function very well – or most likely not happen at all - & this obviously has been, & will continue to be, the case here.  

And I do hope your young people, the future readers in Wool, will learn from your example & understand the value of voluntary work & remember that to do things & give time to help others who may be less fortunate than themselves is a very good way of conducting their lives. 

So to end I should like to wish you all continuing success & much joy from your Library & don`t forget that there is something very exciting about a room full of books & you would not get half as much pleasure & satisfaction from a room full of Kindles – though of course they do have their place in society – but, as Martin Tupper said ….. A Good Book is the best of Friends, the same today & for ever………& if you want to know who Martin Tupper was ---- look him up in the library "


The signs they are a-changing

Installing the new sign

The Friends of Wool Library duly took over the management of a revamped Wool Community Library on Tuesday 15 January after Friends Chairman, David Smith received the keys from County Council Chief Executive, Debbie Ward.

David and Debbie are pictured here holding the new Library sign in place for fixing immediately  after the removal of the former County Council sign had been taken down. They posed for this shot for photographer Peter Green who then put down his camera and completed the job with his drill/screwdriver.

The first duty team of volunteers  opened the doors at 3 pm for the inaugural session under the new management. The team of  Chris Whish, Jenny Villis and Colin Cooper got down to business under the watchful eye of Volunteer Co-ordinator, Christine Reber and Community Library Liaison Officer,Petra Peters.

Several well-wishers dropped in. Both they and the early library users praised the face-lift that the volunteer make-over team had  achieved since Dorset Library Service had closed the doors on its last session the previous Saturday.

Opening Times

 Tuesday  3 pm - 6 pm 
 Thursday   10 am - 12 Noon 
 Saturday  10 am - 12 Noon 

Renewals Line: 01305 224311

Upcoming Events

Wool Community Library is run by Friends Of Wool Library, Registered Charity Number 1173556 (login)
Wool Community Library, D'Urberville Centre, Colliers Lane, Wool, Dorset, BH20 6DL
Telephone (during library hours): 01929 405259 / Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.