Masham’s Volunteer Led Community Library Matters

If you go upstairs at Masham Community Office (or take the lift!), you’ll find Masham Library. Just over ten years ago, the Masham branch of HSBC closed, and Masham Library lost its home. Luckily for Masham’s readers, rescue was at hand in a partnership between Masham Community Office and North Yorkshire County Council – and a much reduced but still well-stocked library was re-housed at MCO. North Yorkshire provides books and professional support, and the local community provides volunteers, making us one of the very first community libraries in the county (now there are over 30).

Ten years later, the library is still here – and so are some of the original volunteers! We have a good stock of both fiction and non-fiction, including Large Print, and also audiobooks. And of course books can be reserved from other libraries. Still, our size is a limitation, so three or four times a year volunteers visit Library HQ in Northallerton and refresh our stock, bearing in mind our knowledge of our Masham readers’ interests. We also have a good selection of children’s books, and hold the local history reference section. The library may often seem quiet – but we issue over 3000 books every year.  And it’s NOT very quiet on Wednesday lunchtimes, when there are story times for children from Acorns and Masham School!

As a long-time volunteer – there are lots of rewards. Being very proud that MCO and the library volunteers were able to operate a click and collect service during the COVID lockdowns, choosing book bundles for readers, who were very appreciative! Seeing our regular readers finding books they like every week! Signing up new members, especially children, and watching them have the fun of choosing their own books!  Recommending a book to a reader, and having them tell us how much they enjoyed it! Running the Summer and Christmas Reading Challenges, the enthusiasm of the young participants (and their pride in finishing)! And on any day, providing a warm, safe, peaceful place to look at books, sit and rest for a while, chat if you feel like it (or not)…!

We can’t imagine Masham without its library!

Christine (above) explains in this article why she’s so passionate about keeping our community library going and how it came into MCO back in 2012.