Slowly, slowly back to normal

As we enter the autumn, the big question is: are we all safely out of the pandemic, or must we be still careful? For us, the reply must be on the side of caution. Yes, we do hope to extend opening hours soon, and yes, we will be hosting more groups as the months go by. But, our first thoughts must be for the safety of volunteers and visitors.
So we are still cleaning vigorously, still being aware of numbers in the room at any one time, and still maintaining watchfulness. We pride ourselves that we are especially careful when it comes to our parent & toddler mornings.
So, with that said: onwards we go!!

Big plans

Our major project for the autumn is, as you will know, the ‘Crafting Communities’ sessions with paper artist Jennifer Collier, which will last through to December. (See our last post for details) .
As a bit of publicity, Jennifer and some of us from the centre hosted a stall at the Draycott Fayre last month – where a good time was had by all, with lots of activities undertaken!

Our very own Roger entertaining the crowds at Draycott Fayre (pic: Neil Archibald)

The publicity must have worked – because the sessions, which are free, have attracted almost the maximum numbers allowed so far. (Please see our What’s On page for how to book yourself in).
The sessions have also produced a ‘Big Idea’ – which is, why not create a long-term artwork representing Blythe Bridge itself?? Such a project will rely on community involvement to make it work… please email us your thoughts about what themes should be included – or come and talk to us when we are open!

Slots available

While the centre is working on restricted hours, we have certain time-slots available for other classes, including evenings and weekends.
Would you like to run an exercise class, in, say, Yoga or Pilates or Tai Chi? Or perhaps you need a venue for health & well-being groups (in say, counselling, bereavement-care or weight management, etc)?
The bonus is that, because any new sessions would have to take place when the library doors are closed, they are guaranteed privacy.
If the opportunity appeals to you, please contact us. We will support you at Blythe Centre if we can!

Borrowing periods

One sign of the slow return to normality is that all libraries across the county are going back to asking for the normal borrowing period for books.
Over the last eighteen months, a flexible approach to borrowing times was in order, but now we can get back to how it was. If you have ‘overdue’ books, please return them, or, if that will be difficult, please give us a call (during opening hours).
However, the good news is that, even now, no one will face fines for books returned late.

Online festival

Lastly, don’t forget that this month sees the start of the Staffordshire History Festival, which is largely a Libraries initiative this year.
Most of it is online, which makes ‘attending’ events very easy! For more details, click here

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Get crafting this autumn!

Blythe is proud to announce that we are one of only four libraries across Staffordshire to be selected for ‘CraftingCommunities’, a major crafts-in-the-community project.

On site, and out and about in the local villages, the maker-artist Jennifer Collier (see pic right) will be with us as Blythe Bridge’s craftsperson-in-residence. She will be here for three months, from September until December.
With all the funding already provided (by the National Lottery, through the Arts Council), this is going to be an amazing, and, we hope, transformational project!

Making together
Thursdays at the centre are being set aside exclusively for residents to work with Jennifer, in a range of fun-crafting activities.
All are welcome to come along, though booking is essential; and, whatever the government Covid guidelines will be then, we assure you we will be following them.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Jennifer is open to invitations from local community groups to go to them, to create on-the-spot sessions. Please contact us for details.
And we have not forgotten those who are house-bound or still isolating. Bespoke packages will be available for them – and we will deliver them.

Re-connecting
One of the many downsides of the pandemic was that it stopped communities coming together, so now, as the pandemic recedes, comes the task of re-creating those connections – and we intend to make this project a great contribution to that.
As Cllr Victoria Wilson, of Staffordshire Libraries, says: “Libraries have always used arts and crafts for social activities; and can reach out and explore new ways to get more people involved.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a real impact on individuals and local communities. By bringing people together for creativity we can start to strengthen community wellbeing.”

Staffs Libraries have set up a special webpage for this project – click here to see more.

Jennifer
It’s going to be fun to have Jennifer Collier with us! She works as a paper-and-stitch mixed-media artist in Stafford. As you can see from the photos of her work (below), she is not afraid to ‘think outside the box’, and have fun…

Jennifer’s big idea for these sessions however is to encourage everyone who attends to experiment with simple techniques suited to all abilities – in other words, maximum participation. To aid that, all the sessions are free, and materials will be free too.
Depending on what ideas come up there may even be a chance for a shared project, resulting in a community art-work at the end.

How to join
More details will follow – so watch this space.
However, if you are a member of a local community group, or are one of those who are not able to get out, please feel free to contact us now about how this opportunity can work out for you or your group.
Our email is: blythebridge.library@staffordshire.gov.uk

If you re-blog this article, please use the hashtag #CraftingCommunities

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Summertime thoughts

Welcome to summer! But first… thoughts about Covid.

We have had a good long think about ‘Covid Freedom Day’ but have decided to remain cautious for now: we will keep the Reception screens up, and would encourage visitors to wear masks.
Also, we have decided against any extra public hours for now; the library’s public days will remain as just Tuesdays and Fridays.
We’ll review it all in September.

We hope this is not an inconvenience, but our first priority must be our volunteers. Secondly, we will still be working very hard on the services we started during lock-down – the Phone-Buddy service, the Grab & Go bags and more… And lastly, it means you can still feel extra-secure if you come into the centre; we will still be cleaning like mad, and still be ensuring everyone is doubly-safe during group sessions and during children’s clubs.
But – please us know what you think too. Email us your thoughts, or drop us a line, or, even better, come and talk to us in person on a Tuesday or Friday!!

Summer reading for young people

Like the rest of Staffordshire’s libraries, Blythe is fully entering into the spirit of the annual Summer Reading Challenge. In this challenge, children are asked to take out and read at least six library books (of their own choice) between now and the end of August. For each book they read, they can collect a special sticker; and after reading six books they earn a certificate and medal. (The under-threes are not forgotten, as there is a category for them too).

A guide to some popular books for kids aged 8 – 11

The theme of the stickers this year is ‘Wild World Heroes’, featuring six characters who are trying the make the environment better for all of us. Click on to the Challenge website to find out more, or, please, drop in, and we’ll explain more.
Don’t forget: we can also help you choose books from the library stock for your children. Just tell us their ages and interests – and we’ll work something out!

History resource

Nowadays, library-centres like ours cover a lot of services, from providing free computer time right through to doing your photocopying for you (at very reasonable prices!).
However, one thing that may have been forgotten, and which we have been doing for many years and continue to do, is providing books and maps on local history. Our local-history section is a great place to start if you want to know something about this area’s past.
What’s more, as well as helping you gain knowledge, it will get you ready for the Staffordshire History Festival (which takes place in September).

And – please – don’t throw out any local history books you may have bought in the past. We want to really build up that section – so your donations, even of second-hand works, are very welcome.

Looking for funds

Like all public services, we were hit hard financially by the lockdowns; we estimate that we have lost 90% of our normal income during the last eighteen months. Without book-sales, income from group-hire and any fundraising activities during this time, it has been hard.
Fortunately, Staffordshire County Council underwrites the building – but it is up to us to find running-costs.
We know that we are not alone in losing income; many charities, local and national, are in the same boat as us. However, if you do have some pounds to spare for this centre – we’d be grateful if you’d give us a thought. A cheque, even for a small amount, made out to “The Care and Fun Club”, will help keep us afloat. (The Care and Fun Club is the business name of the charity which manages Blythe Centre).
Thank you…

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Award for all

Welcome to our June bulletin.
We have news of our successes in the regional Volunteer Awards, and the return of the Summer Reading Challenge.

Awards

It was a very satisfying night for Blythe Centre at the Staffs Moorlands ‘Volunteer Star’ awards ceremony. It all had to be done online, which you’d think might have made the event a bit dry, but the Support-Staffordshire team, who organise the awards, did a really fun job of the production – so, well done to them. The whole event was recorded for YouTube, if you want to have a watch.

Special mention must go to our Debbi, Debbi Silcock, who was commended in the Personal Achievement section. Debbi is one of the mainstays of the library, and really keeps us going! Visitors will often see her here, often busy at a table at her crafts-work. We can’t wait for the centre to re-open fully to groups so she can put on her workshops again. Congratulations Debbi…

Gold star!

We’re happy to say that the whole volunteer team here also got a commendation – in the Volunteer Team of The Year category. We got it under the name of ‘The Care & Fun Charity’ which is our official name.
From the board to the day-volunteers to those who organise the clubs, all of us are feeling quite proud at the recognition – especially when you think of how many other groups there are who are doing good work in this region. Quite an achievement, even if we say so ourselves.
To see a list of all the awards and winners, click here.

If you would like to join our team of volunteers, click here for more information.

Read for summer

The importance of reading is really stressed in a new book You Are a Champion – How To Be The Best You Can Be written for young people by the England footballer Marcus Rashford. Well-known for his work to alleviate child poverty, his book also stresses how important school and reading were in his development.
As he reveals, it is quite a shock to realise that one aspect of child poverty is that over 380,000 children in this country don’t own a book – so how can they possibly develop good reading skills?
(Why not buy a book for a child you know? There are a few second-hand ones on sale in the library).

On that note, don’t forget that we here at the centre can advise on suitable books for your child. Give us a phone call, tell us what your child is into, let us know when you’re likely to drop in, and we’ll put some books on one side for you to borrow. We’d be very happy to do that.

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Welcome back, kids & crafters!

It has been a long, hard slog for many parents with babies & toddlers over the last year. There simply haven’t been the same opportunities for them to sit and down and chat with friends & relatives about how their little ones are doing, and discuss general child-raising. However… that’s about to change, with the reintroduction of parents & little-ones groups, here at the centre – and it all gets under way this month.

Yes, we’ve been busy in the last few weeks! We’ve taken on a delightful lady, Cath, as our qualified play-facilitator, and we’ve been sorting out the Covid protocols to make sure everyone is safe during the sessions, and now we’re ready.

stay and play at Blythe Library
Toddlers get the whole centre to themselves for their play sessions

The ‘Bright Babies’ (birth to 18-months, 11.15-12.15) and ‘Twinkle-Tots’ (12-months upward, 9.15-10.45) sessions now take place every Monday morning, and work along similar lines to our former ‘Stay & Play’ slots.
During these sessions, the centre is closed to the public. As usual, there will be a small fee.

Protocols will be strict. Although the children and the play-assistant can mix, parents & guardians must resist the temptation! Instead, they must stick to the seating arrangements allotted to them.
Protocol also means that attendance must be booked in advance. This can be done through our new 24/7 online booking system, or in person at the centre’s reception desk (cash only). Whichever, you must book at least 24 hours ahead, please.
It will be lovely to hear the sound of toddlers playing in the centre again!

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And we also welcome back two of our crafts groups…
The ‘Quilters & Knitters & Needle-Work’ group returns on Thursdays (private session, library closed, 1pm-3pm). This really is a tremendously popular group, and we’re so glad we can make space again for it. It’s as much about learning and chatting as it is about needlework, so beginners are welcome. Picking up new skills in knitting, sewing and crochet is completely part of the fun.

Our other crafts group is new: the ‘Textiles Arts & Crafts Group’ (private session, library closed, Sundays 11am-3pm, £4) for budding fabric artists. These workshops are as much about community as about acquiring a craft.

Again, we are mindful of Covid-precaution. Those attending these sessions will be allocated seats around a large oblong table-arrangement.
However (a little relief), the toilets will be available! At the moment, we don’t open the toilet in the centre during public sessions (Tuesdays & Fridays), but that rule will be relaxed for these private sessions.

Please remember to book for sessions – which you can do at our desk in the centre

Again, those wishing to come along to these must book through our 24/7 online booking system, or in person at the centre’s reception desk. Whichever, you must book at least 24 hours ahead, please. No phone booking available.

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Blythe leading the way
Those of you who have visited other libraries may have noticed that they, on the other hand, are not yet taking in groups or clubs. However, we honestly believe that getting our public spaces up & running again (as safely as possible, of course) is essential. People need people; it’s a simple as that.
So, we have bent over backwards to set up protocols and systems in order to get approval from the authorities – and we are sure it will be worthwhile.

We know that other groups and clubs are anxious to return, and, yes, we are open to applications; if anyone wishes to hire a space in the library, a number of times & dates are available – just contact us. But please expect us to demand certain assurances from you.
Sadly, there can be no exhibitions yet, though.

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Reading surge
As we’ve said, it’s been a difficult year for so many of us – but there are silver linings, as with any human experience.

More teenagers are reading for pleasure (pic Pexels.com)

One is that more young people are getting into the habit of reading. Latest research, from the National Literacy Trust, says that, during the first lockdown, the number of children between nine and eighteen who were reading for pleasure surged by almost a fifth, up to 56% of those surveyed.
Reading is so important that this is surely very good news. Let’s hope those habits stick.

Don’t forget: the centre does specialise in books for young people and teenagers. If you’re not sure what to read next, just order a ‘book-selection bag’ from us, telling us your age, and we’ll select some titles for you to look at. We guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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We’re back again (again)!

Thank goodness for the arrival of the merry month of May. In this bulletin, we can be a bit more hopeful than in the last few months.

Come in!

The big news for the centre is that, at last, we have a semblance of normality back.
The past year of pandemic has been difficult for all; and, on top of that, as many of you will also be aware, we have had some major internal construction work being done, in the form of a new gas heating system, which has only just been completed.
However, now we can properly open again.

local reference Blythe Library
Welcome in!

On two days a week, people are once again welcome inside the doors of the library-centre. Our doors are again open to the public on Tuesdays & Fridays 9.30am-2.30pm – for Drop-Off of books, ‘Order & Collect’, Grab Bags of books and Managed Browsing.
You can once again use the computers (though you must book ahead) and there is now a special study-space, with PC, for students. And the printers are again usable.
But, we will still have to be COVID-compliant, for the sake of our volunteers and all. So – please be a little more patient with us than usual; it is worth it. For a full run-down of our COVID strategies, please click here.

Toddler groups

The next item on our agenda will be the safe return of parent & child activities. We know what we want to do, but everything has to be right first, of course.
As part of that plan for the future we have a vacancy for a Part-time Play Facilitator to help set up our revised playgroup on Monday mornings. For details of the role, please click here – please get any application in by Friday (7th May).
‘Stay and Play’ will not be returning in its old form, partly because Sharon, the real rock of inspiration behind ‘Stay & Play’, is moving on after five years of commitment. Thank you so much Sharon!

stay and play at Blythe Library
Play sessions will be back soon we hope

(Thankfully, Sharon is not leaving, but just taking a side step into supporting Care & Fun and the Blythe Centre in other ways).
Nevertheless, the Care & Fun Charity, that runs the centre, remains utterly committed to supporting local families. Watch this space!

Still in place

Just a reminder that certain concessions introduced at the start of the pandemic are still in place, including the fact that there are still no overdue charges for the late return of items.
Also, we continue to offer our Home Reader service. Anyone who is physically unable to visit a library can have books, audio books and music delivered to their home by library-volunteers or, alternatively, have items collected from the library for them by a friend or relative. Members on the home-reader list are not charged for borrowing or requesting books, audio-books or music.

Computers for all

Finally, you may be one of those people who learned to love your computer in the last year – and may be thinking of upgrading now.
Well – don’t throw away your old computer or tablet: donate it instead!

A recycled computer can be very useful

The county Libraries Service is working with the Community Foundation for Staffordshire on the Donate-It project, which aims to provide recycled I.T. equipment to local people who can’t afford it. Such equipment is vital nowadays for people who need to learn, apply for jobs, access health services, and indeed to reduce loneliness.

What do we need? Here are some examples: laptops (with charger); tablets; keyboards; and any type of mouse.
Just drop them off; we’ll do the rest.

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Re-opening hopes

This April bulletin includes news of: hopes for the centre’s future, in the short and long term; a poster competition; and help with those online headaches.

Hopes
As you may know, many of our sister libraries across Staffordshire have now re-opened – but we at Blythe are still only providing ‘lobby services’. This is because we still have contractors in, fixing the heating. It is very frustrating!
All we can say is that the team here are fully ready for a return to normality; and we hope the repairs will be done by the beginning of May.
Our ‘order and collect’ service and our ‘phone-buddy’ offer continue as usual though.

Survey
Lockdown has given us time to think about how we can improve what we do here, and expand it. We have lots of ideas!
But we do need to hear from you as well.
To help us formulate what services are needed, there is an online survey that we’d please ask you to complete. It’s very straightforward, and shouldn’t take more than five minutes of your time, and it really will help us a lot to see what you say.
Click on the link to access the Blythe Bridge Library Survey and – thank you!

Poster competition
Having the kids at home during lockdown was exhausting but (sometimes!) quite satisfying, wasn’t it? Nobody would want to go back to that situation, but it was often fun working with our children on activities.

British Science Poster Competition – Early Ages category winner 2020

If you miss that side of it, why not encourage your kids to enter the British Science Poster Competition. Young people – of any age – can create a poster about this year’s theme ‘Innovating For the Future’, and submit it by April 30th.
Click on Science Poster Competition to check out the guidelines. And – please – email us a photo of your entry too!

Help with those IT issues
Lockdown has been quite a struggle for some of us in the technology area. Having to learn Zoom, how to download documents, dealing with ‘memory-full’ alerts etc etc has been very challenging.
So, please, if you do know someone who is finding online activities hard to deal with, please remind them that Staffordshire Libraries do run a free telephone support service offering IT advice.
When requested, a friendly Staffordshire Community Learning person will give a call and help sort out the issue.
The service is not just for lockdown but for the foreseeable future.

First, though registration is required, which is done either by completing the online form or calling 0300 111 8000. You can also give us a call here at Blythe Centre on 01782 485269 – we can explain more about how the service works, and even help you to register for the service.

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E-lending update

Welcome to our Spring 2021 bulletin.
Usually, this would be a time for announcing new projects and laying out our events-schedule for the year. However, this Spring, what can we do but be cautiously hopeful that everything will be better “sometime soon”?  However, what we here at the centre shall definitely do is carry on as best we can.

In this bulletin, we’ll be outlining some of the recent changes to the way library members can borrow electronic versions of books and magazines etc – ‘e-books’.

But first, a mention about the domestic issues we’ve been having.
As you will know, the heating system packed up at the beginning of the year, and efforts to fix it haven’t been successful – so it’s being replaced. Gas pipes are in the process of being laid and a new boiler put in place. The volunteers here have had to do quite a dance working around the contractors. (Well done to them!)

What we are hoping is that the installation will be fully completed by the end of April, which also – let’s hope! – will coincide with a full re-opening in this country of public centres like ours.
But, be reassured, in the meantime, our books order & collect service is carrying on regardless. Also our phone number is now being ‘diverted’, so we miss none of your calls.

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E-lending

We know that a lot of members have been turning to electronic books in this time, using their phones or computers as reading devices.
So you may be wondering about the news that that one of the library’s e-lending platforms is shutting down, and wondering what effect that this will have.
The answer is: not much really!

Up to now, members who borrowed magazines electronically (‘e-magazines’) would have used the RB Digital platform.  Well, RB Digital has now been discontinued, to be replaced by the Libby platform.

Borrowing an e-book
-book

So, this is how e-lending works now for Staffordshire Libraries members (remember, Blythe Bridge Library is part of Staffordshire Libraries).

There are three platforms:-
~Libby, through which you now get books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and magazines. It is the only platform for free magazines, so, if you read magazines, you will need to download the Libby app.
(Libby is also useful in that it has a range of American classics, and books in alternative languages).  
~Borrowbox and ULibrary, which you probably already have if you’ve been using our e-lending services up to now.  On these two, you can get books and audiobooks.

To get into these platforms you need to download and install them on your device, be it phone or tablet or whatever.
To download the Libby programme (‘app’), click on this link, and follow the instructions
If you haven’t already done so before, download the ULibrary programme (‘app’) by clicking on this link, and following the instructions
If you haven’t already done so before, download the Borrowbox programme (‘app’) by clicking on this link, and following the instructions

(Don’t forget:  you need your Library membership number and your Library PIN to access material for free on all these platforms).

NB   For electronic versions of newspapers, you don’t need to download any app at all! (Click here to see what you have to do)

But why 3 platforms?

Good question!
It’s all about providing range. E-libraries don’t always have a huge choice, so having three platforms gives you more choice and variety, because you will find some books on one platform but not on the others.
To browse the book / magazines /audiobooks catalogues, across all three platforms, please click here.

By the way… sometimes it’s a bit of a surprise to some members that e-libraries are not bigger in their choices.
Actually, the fact is that you have access to thousands more free books through your local library (when it’s properly open of course), especially if you reserve them in advance. So, e-lending is great, yes, but it doesn’t have the choices provided by the real thing! 

Elements to e-lending

One great thing about our e-lending service though is that all items automatically disappear from your devices after the borrow period (unless they have been renewed or ‘returned’) – so … no over-due fees!

Finally, if some aspects of this are perplexing, remember that we offer a free ‘IT buddy phone service’ to talk through how to download and work each of these platforms and their apps.
Contact us – on 01782 485269 – explain roughly what the issue is for you, and leave your own telephone number – and we will call you back and arrange a convenient date & time with you for a full conversation on how it all works and how to do it.

**Please note, none of our e-lending platforms are available for Kindle, though Kindle-Fire users can use the original OverDrive app.

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The stimulation of reading

UPDATE: The centre will be closed on Friday 19th February and perhaps into the following week. Please check our Facebook page for the latest updates.

Hello. Features in this bulletin include: activities for babies’ minds; news about the extension of library membership; a poem by Maya Angelou; and a story for children. Read on…

Stimulating activities for toddlers
Young parents have been telling us how much they miss the parent & toddler sessions at the centre. Let’s hope we can bring them back soon!

In the meantime, parents might like to know of an initiative set up by Staffordshire Libraries.
If you sign up for The Hungry Little Minds Campaign, you get fortnightly emails which outline fun, easy activities to do with a baby or toddler under 2 years old. The activities are specific to age, from three months to eighteen months and so on.
The videos, songs and nursery rhymes to which you are directed help a baby learn about sounds, speech and conversation.

This initiative is incredibly important. In Staffordshire one in four children is struggling to reach good communication development by the age of four, and this means they are at a disadvantage when they start school. In lockdown, with such low levels of interaction, it’s even tougher.
Parents can sign up for this scheme at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/hungrylittleminds

A poem from Maya
February is always LGBT-Plus Month, and Staffordshire Libraries are taking part, as they always do. The month is a chance to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, gays and transgender people – while celebrating their achievements too.

This year the organisers put the stories of five people at the forefront of the project, and it’s terrific that the life of a great writer – Maya Angelou – is one of those stories. In her life Maya Angelou stood up for gay people like herself – and suffered for it.

Her first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) is a 20th century classic of course, but her poetry is also marvellous.
In the short video here, an enthusiast for her work reads one of Ms Angelou’s great poems.

Library Membership update
As we expected, there has been a surge in library membership since the first lockdown nearly a year ago. Across Staffordshire, 5,000 new members have signed up.
We are pleased to add that, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we will be extending everyone’s membership to 3 years from when they joined; and anybody new who joins will also automatically be given a 3 year membership!
If you are not a member of the library yet, please visit the Self Registration webpage to join.

And, don’t forget… here at Blythe, we are usually open (even in lockdown) two days a week to hand out books, and we’d love to see you. Check our Facebook page for details.

Is everyone sitting comfortably?…

Finally, as you’ll know, National StoryTelling Week falls in February, so thought we’d have a story for you.
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara is a wonderful children’s book and here’s a reading by a Libraries volunteer…

For more story-telling on video, please go to the Staffordshire Libraries YouTube Channel. Enjoy!

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For more information please call the library on 01782 485269.

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Dealing with Lockdown

Welcome to Lockdown no 3… Well, maybe ‘welcome’ is not quite the right word, but here we are, so we must make the best of it.

To open, or…

When Mr Johnson announced the lockdown, we knew we had to make some decisions about whether to keep the library centre open or not – and eventually it came down to what each & every one of us here thought would be best for us as individuals and for us as a community.

The heads of Staffordshire Libraries decided to keep the county’s main branches open, but left us community branches (which are run by volunteers) to decide for themselves; and around half of the county’s community branches, and all its mobile libraries, did in fact decide to shut.
However, after a deal of discussion, we have decided to remain open, keeping the same opening hours and restrictions as in the autumn.
The government do see libraries as an “essential service”, and so does the volunteer team here at Blythe.

Volunteers at Blthe Lib

So, we will continue to provide service. You can still reserve books to pick up here, and more (see our homepage for a list of services).
Obviously, all could change – though we hope not! -, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest updates.

Ancestry still available

Back in the Spring, during the first lockdown, ‘Ancestry’ the family history website, announced it would allow all library users access to its site, for free, for a month. It has then gone on to extend that offer every month since.
And sure enough, it’s doing it again, but this time, for three months. As a member of Staffordshire Libraries, you can access Ancestry Library Edition at home until the end of March 2021 – so you can really get stuck into your family history now!

Logo of ancestry library edtion

To access the site you need to log in to your Library account here https://www.yourlibcat.staffordshire.gov.uk/web/arena/user-pages, then make sure you are in the ‘Account’ section and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link where it says ‘Access Ancestry Online’. (If you’re struggling with the process, or need to become a library member, please give us a call during our opening hours).
Here’s a handy Ancestry Guide to get you started.

Explaining Covid to the youngsters

There’s nothing like a colourful book to explain things to young children, which is why we’ve partnered with a publishing firm to produce ‘Coronavirus – A Book For Children’. This short e-book, available free, answers key questions in simple language, appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds, and is illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the man who did the pictures for The Gruffalo.

If you have a printer at home you can download and print it, or you can just read it off your computer. There’s even an audio version, read by actor Hugh Bonneville, if your children prefer headphone-listening.

All the advice you need – on one page

For many of us, it’s not that there’s too little advice available, it’s that there’s too much!
So, Staffs Libraries have checked out a lot of the websites out there, and then gathered the best links to all the main advice you’ll need, especially local. They’re all now neatly on just one web-page, where you’ll find links to all sorts of stuff from home-lessons for kids, to wellbeing, to online courses for adults.
We call it the Useful Resources In Lockdown Page – cos that’s just what it is!

Feeling blue?

Many of us got through the first two lockdowns as best we could, but in those the weather was on our side. A January lockdown is not so much fun, and some of us are feeling distinctly low.

If you think this isolation is turning into an issue for you, or someone you know, a 24-hour mental health helpline is now up and running in north Staffordshire, and has already received more than 500 calls.
The Brighter Futures Helpline, established by the local authorities, provides callers with a safe, confidential space to talk to counsellors about things. You can call, day or night, any time, on 01782 234233.

….And, finally…

As Tiny Tim said, in a famous book by Charles Dickens: God bless us, every one!

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For more information please call the library on 01782 485269.

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