The library comes to life


Story:Sam Humphrey

Photo:Marcia Layne

12th December saw the first of a planned series of storytelling events at Burngreave Library.

‘Storytime at Burngreave Library – for the young and young at heart’ is just one of the new ideas for local community activities being implemented by the new library coordinator Marcia Layne at Sorby House.

The magnificently costumed storyteller was Gwen Mitchell, a library volunteer who has had a keen interest in the art from a young age. “Everyone is a storyteller. We narrate our day at work, at school, people may not realise that’s what they are doing.”

Around the turn of the millennium there was a resurgence of interest in storytelling in the folk music scene.

Gwen, who also plays instruments, very much enjoys these evenings. “There is something so nice about sitting round a fire, eating and drinking and thinking about far-off lands. Stories enrich our lives and imagination. There are also many interesting connections in stories between peoples who have never met. Most cultures have a mermaid, or selkie, character for example.”

The story/children’s area is very bright and comfy with lots of cushions for kids and parents to relax on whilst choosing a book. At 11.30am Gwen appears and enthrals the audience with stories from memory and some from books including ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ from Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’.

Hafsa Noor Khan (age 8), who attended with her mum and sister Ameer (age 5), said: “I loved it. People should come down because it’s a really fun place.” Pop in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday to find out more about a whole range of new things to see and do at your local library.

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Story & photo:Helen Brown

Sam Humphrey and Vayani Palliyaguruge are both new volunteers at Burngreave library on Spital Hill. The library is still searching for more volunteers, and Sam and Vayani are eager to encourage others to join. They both volunteer three days a week but they started at the library for different reasons.

Vayani was directed here by the volunteer centre in town. Having volunteered in various places in the last year she found Burngreave Library to be her favourite because: “Everybody is friendly, they really are like a family and I’m very happy here.”

Though books were not a hobby for Vayani, she has found being at the library has encouraged her to read much more at home. Her most recently borrowed book was Nora Roberts’ A Bed of Roses, a thriller novel, and she enjoyed it though she usually prefers to read romances. Her favourite recent read was Oprah Winfrey’s advice-style book. Vayani said that she was initially surprised to see how many children still came in on a frequent basis, taking out large piles of books every week. It pushed her to encourage her own children to read more. She says also that local children often recognise her and say hello in the street, which she thinks is lovely.

Sam on the other hand already had a passion – enjoying reading and writing in his spare time. He has only recently moved to the area, and he wanted to volunteer partly as a way to meet people.

He has found that the library is essential to the community – a constant hub of activity. Sam says that the large number of computers they have available for free use are incredibly important because many essential forms can only be filled in online and local teenagers come to do their homework in a safe environment (children over the age of 16 can come unaccompanied and use the computers and the internet for free).

Sam thinks that books themselves are still vital. He believes that we can encourage young people to read more by reminding them that their favourite films probably came from books – and the book can be enjoyed for weeks rather than a couple of hours. Sam loves that books can immerse you in a whole new world where you can time travel or visit space, and he points out that they even have a range of graphic novels available for borrowing – a recommended way of introducing children into reading who may not be excited by reading full novels.

One of Sam’s favourite books is the graphic novel Arkham Asylum, by Grant Morrison, which he says has been made into a successful computer game. His other favourites are Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, and Dancers at the Edge of Time, a sci-fi novel by Michael Moorcock.

Whatever your favourite genre is there is plenty available at Burngreave library. As Sam says, “it is a place full of interesting ideas that stimulates your imagination.” And if anyone is interested in volunteering, Sam and Vayani encourage them to come down and enquire.

As Vayani says, “It is a very nice place, we always welcome new-comers, and all training is given so don’t be scared!”


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The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2016-01-12 15:53:37.
The content of the page was last modified by Alice Kirby on 2016-09-28 13:43:42.

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