With the enforced, and hopefully very temporary, closure of the Village Hall, Angus Walker and his team have put together a series of initiatives to keep people occupied during the crisis, for example setting up places where people with either a laptop or a desktop computer with a webcam can meet up online, to chat, discuss, work etc when they can’t meet in person.
The Virtual Village Hall is now a reality, and you can find more details on the Village Hall Website,
The most significant – and popular – innovation is the Rodmell Library, which has been set up by Jo Mortimer. Everybody responds to a crisis in their own way, and as Jo puts it:
When faced with unsettling realities, we often search for the familiar and when we can’t find it, we set about creating it. My response to the Covid-19 lockdown was to start a library.
I asked the village for donations. Within a couple of days,100 books and DVDs were piled up on a table in the village hall, along with craft packs and jigsaws. After a week, we were up to 220. But where to put it all? Two bookcases were donated, delivered and set up by locals – and that was it, Rodmell Library was go.
Thanks to uninterrupted free time, I was able to enter everything onto a proper online library system and provide the village with a catalogue. But I think it’s a bit fiddly and anyway, nothing can beat a bit of good old-fashioned browsing. By this time, we had a logo – now atop every bookmark – so I set up a Facebook page, making it easier to promote the books. Slow and steady interest kept me on The Street, as I delivered items to porches and wood stores.
I didn’t plan for it to be a permanent fixture; I didn’t think anyone would care one way or the other, but it has been met with cheerful enthusiasm. So, I dared to approach authors and publishers to see if they’d like to send donations. And would you believe it? – a fantastic response. I’ve been sent beautiful books by strangers who just liked the idea of a dinky little library in a big-hearted village. To them, I am extremely grateful and look forward to welcoming some of them to the hall for occasional library events.
But the really big love goes to everyone in the village who’s donated, been supportive, and come along to browse and borrow. Thank you. As I write, 23 books are currently checked out, with others reserved. Physically opening the library is a twice-weekly joy – long may it continue.
The library is open on Tuesday (5pm-6pm) and Thursday (4pm-5pm). There is a non-contact hand sanitiser for you to use before you handle the books. All returns are taken out of circulation for three days. You can borrow books for three weeks and DVDs for one week. Should you need to renew, that’s fine. There’s no cost. If you need something delivered, just let me know.
Here’s a link to the Library catalogue: