Celebrating National Libraries Day: My visit to Maldon Library

February 04, 2015

As part of Miles Kelly celebrating National Libraries Day on Saturday 7th February, I wanted to discover what takes place in my local libraries in Essex. I decided to visit two libraries and observe their Baby and Toddler Rhyme Time sessions, as well as asking librarians questions about their library and the services they provide.

The first of my two visits to Essex libraries took me to Maldon Library, where I met with Library Supervisor Bridget. Here’s how I got on…

At Maldon Library

National Libraries Day 2015 – Maldon – Miles KellyI visited Maldon Library on a Tuesday afternoon and watched their fantastic Baby and Toddler Rhyme Time session, which was taken by two library staff members, Helen and Annie. I was surprised at how many children had turned up for the free activity session – 16 of them! Before the session began many of the parents were socialising and chatting amongst themselves. It was clear that this weekly library event wasn’t just for the kids; it was a chance for the mums, dads and grandparents to meet and talk to other people.

Sitting in a circle on the colourful carpet and their excitement building, the children were ready for the fun to begin! The session started with lots of songs and rhymes, accompanied by movements that the children clearly loved doing. The Shake Your Sillies Out song seemed to be a favourite of the little ones as they were all given noise makers to shake along with the words. Next up was story time, where the children read along with the story and had to point out various objects, buildings and characters on the page. The fun and games came to an end with a parachute game, which was loved by all the kids as was evident from the giggles and screams of excitement. The session was great fun for the children, as well as being educational and helping them to develop language and reading skills. Whilst watching the children having fun and learning, it was hard for me not to want to tap my toes, shake my sillies out or sing along to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes with them!

When the big box of toys were brought out and stickers were awarded, it signified the end of the Rhyme Time session. I went off to find Bridget and ask her some questions regarding Maldon Library and her work as a librarian.

A chat with Bridget

Bridget has been working as a librarian for 22 years and said her favourite part of her job is interacting and meeting her customers, especially the young ones. When asked why she thinks libraries are important, she explained that all ages of people could use them, that what they provided was free to the public and they are great places for people to meet and socialise, particularly through free events. In the Maldon area, the library also provides a home delivery service where they deliver books to people who are housebound, which Bridget tells me is an essential service to those who may feel cut off from the community.

Whilst I was talking to Bridget, I noticed a lot of people coming in and using their bank of free computers, which she explains is a way in which the public are now using the library differently. Many libraries around the country offer free computer lessons and free access to computers for their communities.

National Libraries Day – Maldon – Miles KellyMaldon Library offers free events for children throughout the year, including books festivals and craft activities. Schools also visit at different times throughout the year and it is a great way to introduce young people to the library and teach them how to use it. Through schemes like this and the other free events they provide, Bridget tells me that approximately 1100 children signed up for their Summer Reading Challenge last year.

When I was talking to Bridget, it was very clear to me that her job brings her a lot of joy and that she is passionate about her library and the work they do to encourage young children to read. After reflecting on my visit to Maldon Library, it is evident that they work hard to inspire children and bring vital resources to their local community.

From my experience that day, it seems a shame that a lot of people are still unaware of all the wonderful things libraries can offer them and are missing out on meeting great librarians like Bridget. Gone are the days of quiet libraries and here are libraries full of fun and young readers ready to shake their sillies out!

The post is part of a blog series celebrating National Libraries Day; please click here to discover more of our posts about National Libraries Day 2015.