So 2017 draws to a close and at Hampshire Libraries we close our doors for the year. And what a fantastically varied and successful year we’ve had across the service and our 48 library branches! Here is just a selection of highlights from across the last 12 months…
The theme this year was ‘Animal Agents‘ which proved very popular relating to both animals and detective themes for our young readers. This year 26,638 children have taken part in the scheme which means that 4% more children and their families have been into our libraries and discovery centres over the summer. We also broke our record for schools visited – 84% this year which provides a platform to engage with schools and promote the scheme through school assemblies.
This year we also trialled a new way of delivering the challenge to a Special Educational Needs School which has been very successful; with 70 children completing the challenge through a combination of assemblies and story sharing. We look forward to taking the challenge to more special schools in the summer of 2018.
Both Fareham and Fleet Libraries each contain a Makery space: a flexible digital space which has been equipped with high specification equipment. The Makery was created for technical enthusiasts and amateurs alike to learn and develop new skills and experiment with creative digital concepts in a collaborative style using: Apple iMacs running Sketch Up Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud, Apple iPads, Lego EV3 Robotics, Raspberry Pi and Crumble kits for explore coding, electronics and the world of micro computers, 3D printing, and more!
The events, classes and workshops available at the sites continues to grow and prosper, and 2018 is a real time of development so expect to see much more announced throughout!
2017 marked 200 years since the passing of perhaps Hampshire’s most famous and celebrated author. Naturally we couldn’t resist the chance to celebrate her fantastic books and Austen’s impact on both local and literary heritage.
While there were events, talks and exhibitions throughout the county during the summer months, perhaps the most notable was Hampshire Cultural Trusts’ ‘Mysterious Miss Austen’ exhibition at Winchester Discovery Centre. Hampshire Archives and Local Studies provided a fascinating collection of Austen related artefacts, including a fake marriage entry Austen wrote as a teenager, which went on display at The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre from May through to July.
The final weekend of November saw the celebration of Winchester Discovery Centre‘s 10th anniversary, a weekend bursting with activity and an opportunity to reflect on the 10 years since Winchester Library was refurbished and reopened to huge success.
The celebrations included a public open day, showcasing some of the best attractions that the building offers. From book groups to dance troupes, the Winchester Discovery Centre has been at the heart of the local community, and the staff were proud to be part of a day packed with fun and fascination. Also a ceremony for invited dignitaries celebrated the individuals and organisations which launched the Discovery Centre in 2007 and which have supported it since. For more details see our special celebratory blog.
Sometime on the 16th October 2017 our service recorded its 1,000,000th download from our fantastically successful Overdrive eBooks website. While being a significant landmark, it also demonstrated the changing offer of the library service and Hampshire’s ability to lead by example for all modern library services. All indications are that no other public library service has reached this milestone so far.
Thanks to nearly £250,000 awarded by Arts Council England, we launched Library DOTS (Digital; Options, Training and Support), our tablet computer lending project to help tackle social isolation and improve digital literacy.
120 3G enabled tablets were made available for eligible Hampshire residents for a four week loan period, during which training is provided.
The tablets are pre-loaded with relevant online library services, and useful applications linking to themes such as health and well being and information about local communities and services.
Hampshire Libraries took another step into technological lending with the micro:bit lending service. This compliments the other STEM offers, such as the Code Clubs and Makery spaces.
Micro:bits are small programmable computers, designed to make learning and teaching easy and fun. Library members over the age of 11 will be able to borrow, free of charge a micro:bit pack for a loan period of 4 weeks! Micro:bit loaning packs include: one micro:bit, battery packs, USB cables and a start up leaflet. Check the library catalogue for availability.
The first annual Libraries Week, following on from the tradition of a February Libraries Day, took place between 9th and 15th October 2017. This was a fantastic time to really show the sheer variety of what libraries off local communities. While events and promotions took place throughout, a huge highlight in the celebrations was the arrival of popular broadcaster and writer Gemma Cairney to Basingstoke Discovery Centre on Tuesday 10th October. Her smaert, sassy and brilliantly animated style wowed our largely youthful audience, all the while dealing with issues of huge significance with deft and humour. We only hope to have more events like this during next years’ Libraries Week!
So here it is, goodbye 2017. We’ve been amazed by the successes and inspired by the variety, so we look forward to providing an even better year in 2018. Join us!