New community library with ‘honesty policy’ opens

From left, Amanda Heron, volunteer, David Snowdoon, advice worker, Chris Wake, administrator and library users Emma Naisby and Norman Raine.
From left, Amanda Heron, volunteer, David Snowdoon, advice worker, Chris Wake, administrator and library users Emma Naisby and Norman Raine.
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A new chapter has begun with the opening of a community library on Wearside.

Shiney Advice and Resource Project (ShARP), a community centre in Shiney Row, opened its new library in July and has already reported a successful month, with its ‘honesty policy’ to book-loaning proving to be just the ticket for bookworms.

The Beatrice Terrace-based community hub, which provides a range of services including an Electronic Village Hall that receives technical support from Sunderland City Council, has seen a number of new people access the centre, and hopes to be able to engage them with the additional support services it offers, including welfare and debt advice.

Chief officer at the centre, Sylvia Copley, said: “We offer a vital service to people in the area, but it can be hard for people to seek out that help, so it is fantastic to be in a position to chat to people when they come in, and signpost them to financial support if they need it.”

Sunderland City Council supported the ShARP team with a small one-off payment from the Library Service to get them up and running, allowing them to redecorate the space which Sylvia describes as a “underused part of the building”, and also furnished them with stock for the library as well as other equipment needed to get it up and running.

The library will be open for at least 15 hours a week, staffed by volunteers.

An honesty policy means that people do not need to check books out formally, giving them the freedom to read at their own pace and return their loaned items at their leisure within a month.

To find out more go to www.shineyadvice.org.uk.