With the enforced, and hopefully temporary, closure of the Village Hall,
The Virtual Village Hall has now become a reality. It’s the brainchild of Jo Mortimer, and has been a most significant and popular innovation over the bleak periods of lockdown and restriction. Everybody responds to a crisis in their own way, and as Jo put it last year:
“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. Physically opening the library is a twice-weekly joy – long may it continue.”
At present the library is open Monday 5-6pm and Tuesday 4.30-5.30pm. Masks are still required though more than one household at a time is now able to attend. More events coming soon!
Here’s a link to the Library catalogue: