Formed in 1998, the Friends of West Hampstead Library (FoWHL) is a community organisation consisting of around 400 library users – mostly local residents but also people who work in West Hampstead or are passing through.
Our main aim is to ensure that the library remains open, as a library, and that, at a time of cuts, this core function is not subsumed by other activities in the building.
Like the library itself, membership of FoWHL is free
To become a FoWHL member and receive notice of all future events, or to send an email, click here
If you are not on email, keep an eye on the FoWHL noticeboard (by the lift, inside the library) or follow us on @FoWHLNW6
FoWHL SHOWS OFF THE LIBRARY AND SIGNS UP 100 NEW MEMBERS !
FoWHL was out in force on Saturday April 22 - handing out leaflets outside the library to inform people on the streets about library services and encourage them to join both FoWHL and the library.
'It was a huge success,' says FoWHL Chair Simon Inglis. 'We signed up 100 people to FoWHL, gave out 250 leaflets, and got a dozen or so local residents to join the library on the day, with more to come. We also showed several people around. It was a great response, and proof that activities like this do help - so many locals still have never set foot inside the building.
FoWHL's chair, Inglis, added: 'It's amazing how many people we came across who have lived in West Hampstead for years but have no idea what's inside the library, or even that it exists.
'Today's leafleting exercise was aimed at introducing them to its delights, highlighting the fact that if you pay Council Tax in Camden, you have already paid for the 21,000 or so items that are in the library. We also found that there are still many locals who, whilst they love the library being there, have still not joined.'
He said: 'Even regular library users are not always aware that these days you can get foreign language movies from the library, and CDs, and language courses, and then online you get access to free books and a great range of websites that would otherwise charge, such as the OED, the Times Digital archive, Who's Who, www.ancestry.co.uk and loads more.
'A Camden library card is not only free but it really does offer a lot more than what you see on the shelves.'
Did you miss it? Meet up when FoWHL does it again in May. Watch this space.
BECOME A FOWHL FIVER
FoWHL HAS launched the 'super duper' FoWHL FIVER campaign. All you have to do is jolly FIVE friends or neighbours (who live in Camden) to join West Hampstead library. All they have to do is call in at the library and join! It's as easy as that. Otherwise go on the Camden Libraries website, find the My Library section and go to Join Online.
WE will honour all FoWHL FIVERS with a mention on our noticeboard and on this website. 'There is no higher honour we can bestow,' says FoWHL chair, Simon Inglis. 'And your five enrollees (yes there is such a word) will be forever in your debt.'
NEED TO KNOW: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR LIBRARY ?
To be successful, libraries must consult with the communities they serve - to find out what local people want from them and then be able to respond effectively to their changing needs. That's the conclusion of a five-year study of library use throughout the UK that involved 10,000 interviews with library ticket holders. The report, Shining a Light* compiled by Carnegie UK Trust and IPSOS Mori.
“Public libraries remain an immensely popular civic resource across the UK and Ireland,’ said Martyn Evans, chief executive of Carnegie UK Trust. ‘Now they need to strengthen their use of data to better understand who in the local community is using the library, the services they are making use of and what people would like to see more of. That will enable the library to keep their offering fresh and relevant,’ he said.
Survey findings suggest that libraries are most used by young people. School and college students are the most frequent users in England and Northern Ireland - while in Scotland and Wales, most users are aged 25-34. Surprisingly, the 55+ age group was the lowest for library use across all regions
Carnegie Trust insist there is no room for complacency. "Public libraries must redouble their efforts to demonstrate their value and make a compelling case for increasingly scarce resources”.
SO WHAMPers: Please help FoWHL help West Hampstead.
Tell us what West Hampstead Library is doing right. And also tell us anything that we’re going wrong, what else we could be doing, what YOU want from YOUR library.
TWEET suggestions to @FoWHLNW6, #betterWHLibrary.
OR, bring your thoughts to the steps of West Hampstead library Saturday April 29. FoWHL members will be BACK outside the library NEXT SATURDAY from 10am to 2pm, handing out leaflets and ready to take your suggestions and talk them through.
LOVING THE LIBRARY
'I'm getting quite into blogging and crafts and wondered if there were any books in the library that might help. There were!'
Dr Liz Watts, West Hampstead resident and aspiring blogger
SO FAREWELL BRENDAN CANTY
Known to hundreds of young library users over the years as the voice behind Rhyme Time sessions in the Children's Library, Brendan Canty (above centre) bade farewell to Camden's Library Service on March 31, taking with him a token of FoWHL's appreciation, a music voucher for HMV.
'Brendan's smile and easy manner have been a feature of West Hampstead Library for many years,' said FoWHL Chairman Simon Inglis (left), who was joined at the presentation by FoWHL Treasurer Simon Mulliner (right). 'We will miss him, along with all the other Camden librarians who have either been laid off or retired over the last year.'
Brendan is not disappearing altogether however. Guitar in hand, from April onwards he will be running Leeping Bunnies music sessions for children at the Sheriff Centre every Wednesday morning from 9.30-10.00am, and at Health Town (194 West End Lane) every Thursday morning from 11.00-12.00 and every Friday from 2.30-3.30pm. Each session will cost £4 per person. For more information email leeping email@example.com or call 07917 676592.
NEXT EVENT: THE KAISER'S SPIES IN WEST HAMPSTEAD
• Please note this website supersedes our previous website at www.fowhl.co.uk