Local History Month

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May is Local History Month.  Libraries have a variety of ways you can explore the history of your local area.

The Local Studies Library, (or Frederick Wood Room), located in Weston Library is the largest collection of local history resources in North Somerset.  Here you can find newspapers, street and telephone directories, electoral rolls, Ordnance Survey sheets, tithe maps (digital) for North Somerset parishes, C19th historical maps of Weston, as well as thousands of photographs and postcards of local interest.  The Local Studies library is open Monday –  Saturday, 10am – 4pm.

Several libraries hold weekly Family History Advice sessions, where volunteers will support people who are interested in finding out more about their families’ past.  These sessions are:

  • Clevedon library, weekly on Mondays at 9.30am
  • Weston library, weekly on Tuesdays at 10.30am
  • Portishead library, weekly on Fridays at 10am
  • Nailsea library, weekly on Fridays at 10am
  • Weston library, weekly on Saturdays at 2pm

Booking is required for some sessions.  Please contact the local library for more information.

If you are interested in local history, why not become a Memories Shared volunteer?  This role involves visiting community groups and running reminiscence sessions with groups of older people, using the local history resources to encourage recollection, reduce social isolation and increase confidence in the use of basic technology.  Visit our Vacancies page to see where help is needed for this role and sign up to one of our Information Hours to find out more.


Summer Reading Challenge 2019

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Volunteers needed for Summer Reading Challenge 2019

If you have a few hours to spare this summer, why not volunteer to help with the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library?

Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to read for. The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, really helps by getting over 700,000 children regularly into libraries over the summer. There is no other free reading activity that involves so many children, introduces families to their library, encourages children to choose books freely and independently and is endorsed by parents, teachers and the Department for Education.

The theme this year is ‘Space Chase’, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and will celebrate adventure, exploration, reading and fun.  Volunteers will talk to children about the books they have read, help children choose books and hand out rewards of stickers, posters and medals.

This is a short-term volunteering opportunity between Saturday 13 July and Saturday 7 September 2019 and is open to adults and young people aged 14 and over. Flexible volunteering sessions are available at libraries across North Somerset and full training will be provided. 

If you are enthusiastic about encouraging children to enjoy reading, we would love to hear from you. You do not need any previous experience of volunteering or working in a library. For more information about this volunteering role, please take a look at our Summer Reading Challenge information page.

The closing date for volunteering applications is Monday 10 June 2019.

Family History Event

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On Saturday 23rd March, Portishead library will be hosting a family history event. The event will offer a beginners guide to researching your family history and runs from 10-11am. The workshop is free to attend but spaces are limited, they can be booked online via Eventbrite.

Library events, such as these, are made possible due to the generous time and skills of volunteers working together with library staff.

To find out more about the role of a family history volunteer, please take a look at our volunteer roles page.