Hope you are all looking forward to Spring. It’s amazing how fast everything warms up each year – already the snowdrops are fading and the daffodils are pushing through!
In this post we mention: our most popular book; affordable art; the archives group; and the weekly careers service session.
Life, Death & Vanilla Slices
Many of us know Jenny Éclair from her appearances on television in ‘Grumpy Old Women’ and ‘Loose Women’. She can be laugh-out-loud funny in what she says.
But she is also a writer, with three successful books under her belt.
Her books certainly appeal to readers at Blythe Centre.
Her 2012 novel ‘Life, Death and Vanilla Slices’ is far-and-away the book that has been borrowed the most lately.
The interesting thing is that it is not a ‘funny’ book as such (though there are some very funny moments) but a dark, honest and heart-wrenching story about family secrets that are kept hidden (for a good reason).
The book review website GoodReads gives it an amazing 4.2 stars out of five, which just shows our readers know what they’re doing!
Art for everyone
The recent exhibition at the centre of paintings by local artist Pat Bradshaw has shown that good art is pretty much available to all.
It was a pleasure to spend an hour just studying Pat’s pictures; and then quite a surprise to realise how affordable they are – with prices starting as low as £30 and never being much more than £50.
The reason for the inexpensive prices is that many local artists – some of whom are very talented indeed – would rather that their works went to a good home than have an expensive price-tag attached to them and never get sold.
The centre’s art-wall is a very popular point of exposure for many local artists and crafters – so it gets booked up quite heavily, especially as it costs just £15 a month to hire. However, ask at the desk if you are interested in a slot too.
Advice for workers
It was quite a coup for us to get the The Careers Service to put on a monthly session at the centre. Not all libraries are so fortunate.
However, the advisors can counsel visitors on more than just what vacancies are around. In fact, most of the work they do is actually in supporting people.
They have specialist skills in supporting older people look for work (it’s not just for kids!); and for single parents too, with advice on how to get good child-care and still be able to work at the same time. Similarly for anyone with special educational needs or disability.
One area of need that seems to be cropping up more and more is support for those who are actually still in work but face the real possibility of redundancy. Advisors can show them how they can claim time to look for work…
Beyond that is the kind of help so many of us need: like, how to write a good CV.
And… do you feel you lack enough skills for the job market? Well, IT and digital training is another part of the service.
Whatever question you have will be dealt with sympathetically and in confidence – even those sensitive ones like ‘must I reveal any previous criminal convictions?’. Getting the answer right to simple questions like that can often be the key to getting and holding down a job.
The session is an open one and is held once a week on Friday mornings. If you want a private interview, just ask, and a room will be found.
If you ever come in on Monday evening (when we are open until 7pm), you’ll notice a busy group of people in one corner surrounded by storage boxes.
This is the ‘Blythe Colour Works Archive group’; and they are busy sifting through all the material left behind when the famous Blythe Colour Works finally closed down its Cresswell factory a number of years ago. They identify and label what they find.
Here at Blythe Centre, we agreed to store the archive – about thirty boxes worth of stuff, from enamels to documents – so that it could have a local home.
The group is led by Ivan Wozniak (many of us will know him through his work with the Cheadle History Group), who himself was employed at the Colour Works for many years. So he knows what he’s doing…!
One of those working alongside Ivan is our very own Gill Crowther, who volunteers at the library five hours a week. Gill also was employed at the Colour Works for many years.
If you want to help with the – and you don’t have to know anything about colour processes! – just have a chat with Gill next time you see her.
~ ~ ~
If you would like an email once a month to alert you to the fact that we have just published our latest news page (like this one), please click on the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand side of this web-page and then write in your email address.
(Your address is always kept private and never notified to any third party)