At the 2011 National AGM, WI members adopted a mandate to save local libraries, launching the Love Your Libraries campaign.
The campaign is built upon the understanding that public libraries are spaces which hold a unique position at the heart of local communities. During the follow years, WI members championed the library service, highlighted the important role that public libraries play, especially in tough economic times, and raised awareness of risks to the service.
The Sotonettes has chosen to actively support this campaign in 2016 due to a number of changes in local libraries across Southampton and Hampshire. Both the city and county councils have undertaken public consultations on the availability and running of their libraries, including mobile libraries. We are supporting our local libraries in a number of ways:
- At our January 2016 meeting the Burgess Road Library Action Group spoke to us about their plight. In 2015, Southampton City Council announced that Burgess Road Library could avoid closure by finding 50 volunteers for the service to work. If you are in a position to help out or interested to find out more please contact them via their Facebook page. The running of the library will transfer to the community organisation on April 25 2016.
- We also encourage you to visit your local library and find out more about the wealth of opportunities that they have available. Some of our members use the libraries for visiting exhibition spaces, music gigs (Winchester), Rhyme Time sessions and Mini Monets, knit and natter groups, as well as borrowing CDs and DVDs, magazines and physical and digital books.
- Our book club tries to avoid books which have just been published – this makes it easier for readers to get a low cost copy of that month’s book. Our members use the local libraries to get the Sotonettes’ reading list books and also for inspiration for future months. Our Book Club dates and choices are published here along with the group’s rating for each book already discussed.