Ross is a great place to live. Clare Llewellyn West, chair of the Ross Library Development Group (RLDG), certainly thinks so. In her own words….
Whether you’re a newcomer like me - we arrived a mere 36 years ago - or a born and bred Rossian, you can be really proud of a town full of great people and organisations, all working to make life better.
But sometimes there is so much going on that it is hard to keep track. Take RLDG for example. This community group was founded in 2011 and it has been busy ever since, and yet many local people have never heard of it. Their aims are clear: to keep a professional library service in the town and to improve facilities in the Ross Library. I believe that “this beautiful building and the services provided there make the library a vital centre for the people of Ross on Wye and the surrounding area. That’s why we raise funds for improvements and fight to keep it open when it is threatened.
Among other things the group has purchased folding seats, a new display cabinet and a new projector, A few years ago they commissioned and installed a new noticeboard at the front of the library and bought a treasury of Lego to allow the library team to start a Lego club. They paid to add wheels to the remaining adult bookcases in the main library, so that the space can be more easily used for larger events. They have also funded events and activities in the library - from children’s art and craft workshops, to music, drama and storytelling and even a visiting planetarium. During lockdown they made a major donation towards “PressReader” which gives library members online access to a massive range of news publications and magazines. Now that the library is fully functioning again they are concentrating on supporting measures to encourage people to relax and enjoy the library. They made a major donation in December to help with ongoing improvements in the Children’s Library and in the Dennis Potter Room, and they will be supporting the Children’s Book Festival.
Recent fundraising activities include a superb event with that wonderful entertainer, Dick Brice. In the New Year RLDG organised a couple of daytime events, a book launch and a St Patrick’s Day quiz, encouraging people to recognise the library as one of the best “Warm Spaces” in town. When lighter, warmer evenings arrived the group revived their programme of evening events, generally held on the first Tuesday of the month. In April they welcomed Meriet Duncan who gave an entrancing talk about the world of honeybees, and in May, they hosted a superb book launch for Alis Hawkins.
On June 6 at 7pm the group will hold its AGM, followed by a talk about another excellent Ross organisation, the Ross Community Development Trust. Anyone interested is very welcome, although only members can vote at the AGM.
I will be stepping down after ten years with Ross Library Development Group and yes, I will be spending more time with my family! It has been busy and varied and sometimes stressful, but it has also been a wonderful opportunity to get to know the amazing professionals who run our library service, and so many members of the local community who value it so highly. There is a great committee in place, ready to carry the work forward.”