On Saturday, 21 January Warlingham Community Library celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Shelton Avenue building was decorated with balloons and bunting, and local residents were invited in to see examples of the many groups that use the space and the activities that take place there, including a craft room where children were designing their own Chinese New Year dragon. The day also included a raffle, a colouring competition and a cake made by Sandra, from local business Flavours Coffee Bar. The large crowd that attended was proof of just how important the library and its hard-working staff is to the people who use it.
Warlingham Community Library first opened in 2013 as a partnership between Surrey County Council and Warlingham Parish Council, after it was threatened with closure. A group of volunteers stepped in to run it, and it thrives today thanks to their dedication and the support of the local community. The number of visitors, and books, continues to grow each year.
Tina Picanza has been with the community library since it started, and became volunteer coordinator in 2016. She has followed the library's journey, and says it is all thanks to local residents:
"We have 40 fabulous volunteers who give up their valuable time to ensure we stay open. We are a library for the community,
supported by the community."
Speaking on the anniversary celebrations, she said:
"The time and effort our volunteers give to our library is returned in bucket loads by the library's success. The love and value placed in its existence was definitely in evidence on Saturday. It's a privilege to be part of a great team."
The library has activities and sessions for all ages, including Friday rhymetime sessions for babies and toddlers, reading groups for all on the last Tuesday of every month, and knit & knatter sessions every Tuesday. There is also a Lego club, poetry sessions and computer support sessions, among other events. On Wednesdays, the library also provides a warm hub, offering a place to study, read and socialise, hot drinks (for a small donation), and free wi-fi.
With all that Warlingham Community Library has to offer, it is a welcoming and cheerful space for all, and one that is highly treasured. And if the plans for its future that were on show at the anniversary party are anything to go by, there are lots of exciting developments to come.