Spotlight on Bentley Area Community Library
Mel from Central Library puts Bentley Area Community library in the spotlight
The beauty of this community library is really in the name. Bentley Community Library is a busy, vibrant and welcoming place to pay a visit. Its volunteers are a friendly bunch, keen to lend a hand or spend a few minutes of their time having a chat and it’s their willingness and enthusiasm to be of service to their neighbouring communities that stand out. They’ve made the space a pleasure to be in; opening it up to lots of local community groups and organisations as well as fulfilling the needs of its regular customers. June and Dave are two regular volunteers.
June Couper, volunteer ‘We’re a proper community centre as well as a library and that for me is the pleasure of it. The people that come here are great, Bentley folk are great. People really appreciate us and we get boxes of chocolates and biscuits all year round in thanks and on top of everything else we have fun, we have a laugh’.
Dave Walker, volunteer ‘We’ve been here as a voluntary library 4 years in July, me and Jane have been here since day one and I get a lot of pleasure in knowing we provide a service and very often we might be the only people that our customers speak to during their day.’
As well as providing the usual book loan services and computers with internet access, Bentley library is also a contact for St Leger Homes, Cancer Support, Bentley RDASH health support, WEA Literacy, Your Life Help, where support is provided for people experiencing difficulties in their lives, Debt Advice & Councillors Surgeries.
For something a little different there are the Art Groups, Right up Our Street Craft Group, Readers Group, Local Heritage Society & even Yoga!
Cheryl runs the ‘Right up our Street’ skills share group that meet at Bentley Library every Monday morning 10 till 12. The group meet for a natter while sharing their own unique craft skills.
Cheryl says ‘Its free and it’s a drop in and you don’t have to sign up and you can come and go as you like, the volunteer staff here are really good, they’re really helpful and supportive of us’.
Currently on display is a great exhibition about Doncaster’s Railway History. Several of the neighbouring Schools have exhibited the creative work of their pupils and its success is highlighted in the encouraging comments left in a visitors’ diary.
‘It’s a fantastic display and we would like as many people as possible to come along and sign the visitor's book’ Cllr. Charlie Hogarth.
Admiring the display and choosing some books together are Rachel Goodwin & her son Harrison. They visit the library especially in the school holidays as there is always something to see and do.
Bentley Community Library is always looking for new volunteers. June explains that what they need are more volunteers able to man the desk and help customers with computers; I asked why she thought people with a little free time should volunteer at not just their library but others throughout the borough.
June Couper ‘We get a lot of compliments about the library. Sometimes it’s hard work but you will enjoy it because you get a sense of the community, a sense of being really helpful and appreciated. It’s a really nice environment to work. You seriously are helping people and they’re very grateful.
Kevin Elden is one the younger volunteers helping out at the library nearly every day since July, Kevin says, ‘originally it was a work placement set up by the jobcentre, when this ended I decided to stay as I really enjoy it and will even try to fit this in after I get a job’
Kevin believes that his volunteer work will go a long way in helping him to secure paid work.
It has been a real pleasure visiting Bentley Library and a wonderful surprise learning about all that they have achieved. For the full list of what is going on in Bentley Community Library visit the library events page on Doncaster Libraries website or pop in the volunteers there will be happy to help.