Supporting arts and crafts in our local libraries
One of the basic principles of our Society is to ensure that we are part of the fabric of the Fylde Coast community and a positive force for the wider benefit of arts at local level. Thanks to the generosity of our members in supporting our raffles and such like we are able to fund projects that benefit our local communities.
Public Libraries have been subject to successive cuts, restricting their ability to provide little beyond a basic service. A conversation with a Library Manager here in the Fylde confirmed that there was very little spare cash available to support children’s arts and crafts. Many Libraries have Friends groups who raise funds to provide materials and resources beyond the scope of the Council’s provision, but opportunities for fundraising activities have been limited since the beginning of the pandemic.
As the pandemic had also restricted our Society’s ability to support a community project for many months, the Committee decided to donate amounts of £100 to seven Fylde Coast libraries, liaising with individual Friends groups wherever possible. The donations were to be used to promote arts and crafts for children and young adults, enabling the libraries to add value to children’s experiences when visiting the library.
The seven Libraries involved were: Ansdell; Cleveleys; Freckleton; Kirkham; Lytham; Poulton; and St Annes. This is how they have used, or are planning to use, their funding:
Ansdell Library’s Friends group invited Helena Lemper to run a Willow Workshop. Our donation was enough to cover a group of 10 to make two bird feeders from willow.
Cleveleys Library’s Friends invited residents of Cleveleys (who are suffering with social isolation) into the library, along with some school children to talk about the Jubilee and their memories. As part of the session the children and adults worked together to make a community collage, and took part in some fun royal-themed arts and crafts.
The Friends also decided to put some money towards the Library summer reading challenge – a scheme that encourages children to read in the school holidays. The library held two events where arts and crafts were used alongside storytelling.
Freckleton Library and Friends decided to use their donation on two children’s events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. The first event was a creative writing workshop with Dan Worsley, Children’s Author and Storyteller. The children were inspired to use their imagination and write about, The Day I Met The Queen. The following day the Friends group led a Design a Bookmark workshop. All the children’s work was on display at Freckleton’s Jubilee celebrations, held in Rawstorne Sports Center on Saturday 4 June.
A second donation to the library was used to develop a Dementia Café which is now up and running on a monthly basis on a day when the library is closed.
Kirkham Library ordered lots of basic arts supplies, including 180 colouring pencils, anti-spill paint pots, poster paints, paint brushes, coloured sugar paper, 36 felt pens, some plastic table cloths and stickers, as well as a rather large box to store it all in! The Library Manager said: “Thank you so much for this. We will be putting some of the colouring pencils out permanently so that children can use them at all times, and we will be changing colouring sheets to fit in with seasons and events as well as having some special events. The children love seeing their work around the library and we’re trying to tie it in with displays so that they can see it being used.”
Lytham Library purchased lots of arts and crafts materials. The Manager said: “This will indeed be most beneficial to the community and the materials will be used to support creative events within the library on an ongoing basis.” The Library held a creative event in August linked to their summer reading offer Planet Savers, and will also be starting regular Health, Wellbeing and Creativity groups for adults and children in the autumn.
Poulton Library came up with the idea of running a session for children of upper primary age, that would involve pottery painting, and learning new painting techniques. The project was run by Karen Laboda, who brought some small Harry Potter Magic Hat night lights to the library, where she taught the children the technique of pottery painting. The painted items were then taken back to her shop to be glazed and fired, and returned to the library for the children to collect after they had been on display, with an acknowledgement to The Arts Society Fylde’s support. It went really well – the children took it seriously and loved having the opportunity to try their hand at a new craft. This project not only encouraged some children to try a different creative skill but also supported a small business, Dots on Pots.
St Anne’s Library
St Anne’s Library Manager said: “Staff have been swapping ideas as to what would be the most impactful way to use the funds. We decided that we would like to invest in something that would be a real legacy item that we can get ongoing use from.” After discussion with the Friends of St Anne’s Library (FOSAL), it was agreed to put the donation towards a badge making gadget so that children could create their own badges to celebrate special events, etc. The Manager said: This is absolutely wonderful! All the staff are thrilled. Thank you so much.”
A special thank you to all our members for their generosity, without which this project would not have been possible.