Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A success story

It is good to know that even in these stringent times, somebody listens to the common man, sometimes. In Hampshire, a children's mobile library has been in service for nearly 28 years, known as "Maisy Mouse", but officially called the Family Library Link. I should have found about this vehicle years ago, and I heard vague mentions of the "One in Hampshire", but all I could find as I searched the Hampshire website was the School Library Service mobile, and that was not what I was after. I presume that I did not find it because I did not think of searching for the term "Family Library Link". I had not previously come across that phrase to describe a Children's Mobile Library.

Well, I found out about it in difficult circumstances, it came onto my feed reader from a newspaper link, protesting about its closure

Campaign to save 'Maisy Mouse' mobile library - East Hampshire - The News

Being rather full of myself I emailed the service, for two reasons, firstly to gather more information about the CML and secondly to offer my services to the library to talk to the council about how amazingly brilliant CMLs are at advancing literacy. I have the proof now! Anyway, I had an informative reply, and a gentle let down. As it turned out, my help wan not needed at all, due to a hefty public campaign and a school boy, it appears that the service has been saved.

Schoolboy Bobby rescues library from budget cuts - Politics - The News

Here is a section of the reply I had from Eileen Leigh, I felt it had to said in her own words.

Family Library Link is a special service for the Under 5’s and their parents/carers . There are 2 members of staff one full time and one part-time, working 25 hours a week term-time only. We make over 40 visits a month to pre-schools, nurseries , parent & toddler groups ,special needs groups and reception classes . The area we go to has expanded over the years to meet growing demands , as well as Leigh Park we travel to Wecock Farm (an overspill from Leigh Park) and Portchester . During visits the children and carers access the especially designed Library bus (Maisy)to choose books and share stories . The van is bright, colourful and well loved !Pre-schools have a large collection to support the home loans scheme in which we have encouraged them to participate .

Books play a major role in all areas of child development and Family Library Link’s aims are to promote the enjoyment of the best picture books through loans and storytelling . The van carries around 1,200 books with plenty of back up stock in the office. We maintain a high standard regarding the condition of the stock as there is a high turnover we are able to keep standards up with an annual budget for stock revision and new titles .There are board books for the babies and more complicated stories for the older children. We hold rhyme times at the parent and toddler group and read stories at most of the groups we visit.

Over the years we have held Book Fairs , Fun Days and had Fun months - promoting the library in a fun way. We have also been involved with Reading is Fundamental ( part of the National Literacy Trust) a fabulous project that provided free books each term to every child attending the Leigh Park groups. The project ran for 5 years and the books were presented at a different event each term . we were heavily involved in the selection of the books and the presentations many of which were held in Leigh Park Library . Parents and carers attended these really happy events. All were encouraged to join the branch library .

We are also involved with Book Start distributing packs and have co-ordinated a few very successful Book Crawls in Leigh Park and Portchester with presentations of certificates in the libraries with parents and children enjoying the fun events.

During the summer holidays term-time groups are closed or quieter.

The van is transformed into Book Bus . We have visited play schemes and country parks promoting the library through browsing and storytelling. Last Summer we were involved in the National Summer Reading Challenge.


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