A choir, ukuleles, knitting and more!

Who was it who said that “a library without people is just a building full of books”?!

I would love to think it was me! I love a library and have spent my whole working life in libraries but I have to say, the buildings are nothing without the people (both the staff and the public).

My role within South Tyneside Libraries is to ensure that everyone has access to a library service and can enjoy libraries and what goes in them. This obviously means that I get to enjoy libraries and what goes on in them as well.

What a job!!!

But first things first – I split my time between making sure that people who can’t get to the library (mainly older people) receive a monthly visit from Home Readers staff and our happy band of volunteers. I get immense satisfaction and pleasure from this role. The feedback I get from our readers when I see them or talk on the phone is always really positive.

And then, there’s the groups…

We have groups in every library but obviously the icing on the cake for me is when I get to work in the Atrium of the The Word. The Atrium is a beautiful space which shouts out “use me” – and use it we do. Singers, poets and authors have all used this incredible space since we opened in October 2016.

However, not as well known, are the knitting groups, the clippy matters, the scrabble and colouring in group, the ukulele group and yes, we even have a choir! These groups have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic people – Celia Bryce wrote a song about  all of the things that they do, a wrote a song for the ukulele group about the ukulele group and the choir even had a song written for them.

The lovely people who come along to these groups and join in are all different. The one thing they have in common is that they want to have a try at something new and once they join us, they mainly stay.

I’ve learned a lot from these people and have also expanded my vocabulary. I now know what “experiential learning” is…….imagine that score in scrabble!!

These groups are for anyone and we always like to see new faces come along, so why not join one yourself?


Maureen Cairns, Community Librarian - Community Engagement and Outreach