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BCL Newsletter 1 - Winter 2014/15

posted 1 Feb 2015, 12:44 by Siavash Moshiri   [ updated 2 Feb 2015, 08:56 ]

Team Party for Volunteers

Months after its successful launch, the new Broomhill Community Library celebrated with a tea party for its Volunteers.

Amongst the 40 or 50 Volunteers who attended was Elaine Nunn. When asked what she had most enjoyed most about the party she didn’t hesitate: ‘The opportunity to meet other volunteers and the great social atmosphere. You really felt a part of something.’

Volunteers brought food – three tables of it. This included some very professional-looking cup cakes made by Volunteer Sophia. ‘Delicious and not too sweet,’ said Elaine who normally gives these over-sugared calorie grenades a swerve. The party atmosphere was also helped along by mulled wine - warmed by Eilis Coffey in her slow cooker.

Later, Steering Committee member Kathy Harbord gave volunteers an update on the status of the Broomhill Library and its dealings with Sheffield City Council. There is still stuff to iron out it seems, but so far so good. She also outlined the recent Volunteer Questionnaire results. Most found library volunteering a very worthwhile experience with a great working atmosphere.

Many thought they would like more training. Lively group discussions followed. With the benefit of two months experience volunteers were able to make helpful suggestions about training and how volunteer activities might be organised. It was also decided it was time to tell the world about Broomhill Library and its activities – in particular its thriving children’s activities. It was decided to leaflet local shops.

With the party still warm in her memory, the last word goes to Library Volunteer Elaine Nunn: ‘I was impressed by the effort put in by the Volunteers. Also the commitment and community spirit that I saw – which wasn’t just down to the mulled wine.’

Volunteers Bring Back Colour to Broomhill Library Garden

“Many people remember how beautiful the garden used to be then – recently discovered to be the work of Percy Cane.”

Volunteers are bringing back colour to the garden at Broomhill Library.


It all began in the autumn with a Garden Day for Volunteers. In just one day they dug up turf, pulled out roots, cleared away long grass and leveled the ground. They pruned and they planted. More Garden Days are planned.

The volunteers – keen local gardeners as well as student volunteers – plan a chain reaction of colour as the seasons unfold. It must have looked a little like that when the library first opened in 1957 at the site of a former villa. Many people remember how beautiful the garden used to be then - recently discovered to be the work of Percy Cane, the well-known English garden designer.

‘I love flowers’ said a smiling Helen Davies as she split some asters. ‘Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens have kindly donated a bag of bulbs. We are also planting easy perennials to bring colour back to the garden: geraniums, flowering quince and a splash of a pulmonaria – said to be good for the lungs.

The idea of healthy lungs is very appealing to student volunteer Xie Zhuohan who finds Sheffield very clean and peaceful after the noise and pollution of a Chinese city.

The student volunteers admitted that at times the work was heavy as they struggled with hard soil and stubborn roots. However they are very aware of the rewards.

Veronica Tse, ambassador for the University Student Volunteer Group loves interacting with the local community. She also sees it as a chance to get out of the student ‘bubble’. No stranger to beautiful gardens in her native Singapore, Veronica says she wants to make something nice for library users.

Thanks to Volunteers, Broomhill Library is blossoming and blooming once again – not least in its garden.

Christmas Fun for Tinies

Broomhill Library’s youngest members were joined by two very special guests at their Christmas party. There was fun aplenty when the Baby/Toddler Time Group were joined by two of their Grandfathers.

One played the guitar and led some lively Christmas singing. The children, playing newly acquired percussion instruments, brought lots of jollity to ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. 


Suddenly there was a knock at the door and one of the children went to answer it. A surprise guest was led in by the hand heavily disguised as Saint Nicholas and carrying a heavy red sack.

After a short nativity story and a few more songs, it was time for Santa to dig into his sack. Each child came to collect an age-appropriate literary present. Santa wasn’t that scary but some of them wisely kept their distance. Others were happy to have their photo taken with the man in red. Then it was time to tuck into the food – a baby/toddler friendly spread – and plenty for the adults too including some mouth watering mini cupcakes made by one of the mothers.

This was followed by a Christmas craft activity prepared by one of the Children’s Volunteers. The older children had lots of messy fun with glue & glitter - decorating bells and Christmas Trees and making some cards.

A special collection was held and a donation sent to the local children’s charity, Bluebell Wood.

Father Christmas may have put his feet up for another year, but there’s still lots of fun to be had every Tuesday at 10am. Come and join us at our weekly open session. Babies & toddlers 0-2+ and their carers meet up for chat, play, and singing. There’s usually a short story or a craft activity and there are always colouring sheets and puzzles for the older ones.

Student Volunteers Shine

You may have noticed some young faces amongst the volunteers at Broomhill Community Library. They are an unobtrusive presence, quietly getting on with their tasks.

However, these school students who are working for their Duke of Edinburgh Award, quietly shine.

Take 15 year old Megan Jones for instance. A pupil at Sheffield High School, she is working after school at Broomhill Library. She is engaged in service in the community – an important aspect of her work for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

To the admiration of some of us older volunteers who are still getting the hang of it, Megan finds the library computer systems simple. In the early days however, when faced with a query from a library user, she did find it a challenge. However she soon found she was good at figuring out things for herself rather than asking someone else. Happily, developing problem-solving skills and independence are some of the chief aims of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Megan who eventually hopes to study medicine, has learned much about how a public library works. She says she only knew about school libraries before. She is enjoying her contact with a wider range of books including Broomhill Library’s exciting collection of graphic novels.

Sisters Verity and Imogen Laycock are also volunteers at Broomhill Library. Together with their friend Joanna Register, they are pupils at Tapton School. All three girls are also working for their Duke of Edinburgh Award. It seems they loved their visits to the library as children and wanted to give something back. So they chose to work in the Children’s Library, making graphic displays and working with chidren’s groups. As we talked, Verity was colouring, cutting and sticking. Soon a large giraffe stalked the wall and an owl winked down at us.

Seeing though the eyes of a child is a talent and these girls have it in spades.





BCL journalist and photographer: Celia Lock
BCL editor: Fiona Koster
Ⓒ Copyright Broomhill Community Library 2015