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What my library means to me: "A venue for all"

Jackie Marjoram is the secretary of Friends of Werrington Library (FOWL), a fundraising group that supports the community service. She spoke to Peterborough Matters about what the library means to her.
Jackie is a volunteer at Werrington Library (Photo: Jackie Marjoram)

The library is a venue for all. That's what I think of it as. It's a real community hub, far removed from the old vision of what a library used to be, where people would just get their books and have to be quiet all the time. There's no call to be quiet anymore - on the contrary, it's a pleasant, vibrant space for all.

At Werrington Library we have craft groups and reading groups, both of which I take a leading role in, but there are also children's groups, knit and natter groups, poetry groups. There's a Welsh-speaking group. A group of that size probably wouldn't be able to afford to rent a space anywhere else, it might not exist without the library to home it.

We have a FOWL coffee morning once a month, and it sees people of all ages attend. We're busy with free crafts for the children, coffees for the mums or the older visitors who popped by for a chat. It was getting more and more popular before lockdown, and I think it'll get more popular after things start re-opening. As people and business feel the pinch, the library will be so important to welcome people in.

I love the Summer Reading Challenge - the FOWL group have even started a competition for the best book review from the children taking part, with prizes given out. It's encouraging literacy, and making reading fun for children, which is so important for the city as a whole.

We've fundraised for new furniture for the library, new instruments for the children's rhyme times. We have craft fairs and invite local craftspeople to sell the things they make. We hold song and poetry evenings. As community centres closed, libraries became the centre of the communities, and that's so evident in Werrington.

I love my library - I love the staff, the socialising, and the fact that borrowing books is a lot greener and more environmentally friendly than buying new ones all the time! It's a space for everyone, even those who think they might not have anywhere else to go. Everyone is welcome.