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How we work and how to get involved

Friends of Bishopston Library has an elected committee, a constitution and a bank account and is officially recognised by Bristol Libraries. Our special relationship with Bishopston Library gives us access to its facilities.

When we make a surplus from our events we put it towards equipment or consumables for the library. For example we’ve purchased patio furniture for the first-floor terrace, comestibles for public engagement events and materials for a children’s event. Some plants for the terrace are likely to be next but we welcome suggestions for things that would benefit the library and its users. Making a profit for the library is not our main motivation, we exist to provide events and activities for our community.

In our first year we’ve figured out how to organise ourselves to plan and run events of various types and size in the library. We’ve built a relationship with Bishopston Library, Bristol Libraries and other library Friends Groups. We’ve been involved in discussions around the future of our library services. We’ve built our website, our email and mailing lists, our social media presence and our payment and booking systems. We’ve written our constitution, set up a bank account and sorted out public liability insurance. We’ve run a number of stand-alone events and a couple of series of workshops. We’ve built up a list of things we aspire to do and written our event guide so we can pass what we’ve learnt on to new members of the team.

The eight committee members for the year 2018/19 are: Alison Boulton (Community Forum rep), Carrie Spittlehouse (treasurer), Gavin Spittlehouse (chair), Jenny Hoadley, Juliet Lamont, Kevin Molloy, Peter Browne, Sally Dowling. We have capacity for up to 11 committee members. We have no secretary this year so we share that role amongst ourselves. The roles of chair, secretary and treasurer are decided between the committee members after they have been elected by the AGM.

Thinking about getting involved?
There are many ways for more people to get involved. We’re keen to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds. You don’t need to commit to a lot of time or a long-term role, there are a variety of ways you can contribute. We could do a lot more in 2019 then we’ve been able to do in 2018 but we’ll need a bigger team to do it.

  • You don’t need to be a committee member to propose, plan, organise and run events. Do you have an idea for an event, or a series of events, or a regular event? If so then we’d like to hear from you, whether you want to take charge of making it happen (with support from the committee) or be to part of the event team.
  • If you’re not keen to organise the events then we still need people who can help out on the night – you’ll generally get to see the whole event as well as helping to make it happen. It takes at least four people to set up the library, take tickets on the door, organise refreshments, run the event and pack away afterwards. Get in touch if you see an event coming up that you’d like to help with, or just ask us where we need your help!
  • If you have skills in particular areas then there may well be one-off projects or ongoing roles that you could undertake. Right now we could really do with a logo and some poster design; a couple more people to contribute to our social media; people who could help us reach under-represented parts of our community; somebody to independently audit our (fairly trivial) annual accounts.
  • We’ll be electing a new committee in September 2019 but you don’t have to wait – we have a vacancy on our current committee if you’re interested in joining.
  • Or if there’s something else that you can bring to Friends Of Bishopston Library then please tell us about it.