Background and recent events

Friends of Willingham Library (FOWL)

The library serves the villages of Willingham and neighbouring Over. The Friends Group was set up in late 2003 with four aims:

  • To promote Willingham Library within the community
  • To provide a forum for social and cultural activities for Library users
  • To foster understanding of how the library service is run and funded
  • To provide a channel for feedback from Library users

The first two aims have been pursued by organising several events a year in the library, plus monthly publicity in Willingham News, supplemented by a quiz. The Friends also help to support two reading groups and a family history group, and run a monthly secondhand book stall May-October and a monthly board games afternoon. The last two aims are achieved on an informal basis through a close relationship with the library staff.

While many other Friends Groups have taken on a fund-raising role, Willingham’s nature as a small library, plus regular support from the Parish Council, has meant that this has not been a main aim.

It is run by a small committee composed of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, plus several co-opted members. The committee meets three-four times a year, and holds its AGM in May, when the officers are elected.

Membership is open to all residents and costs £6 for life membership.

Events have included:

September 2005: Local history event – items from Cambridgeshire Collection, parish registers from the record office, church records,

March 2006: Visit to the University Library

October 2006: ‘Finds’ morning with Phillipa Walton from county archaeology service

May 2007: Talk by local author Midge Gillies

June 2008: Poetry and Prose evening

September 2008: Talk by Roy Sherwood on Oliver Cromwell

April 2009: Poetry and Prose evening

April 2009: Very Hungry Caterpillar session for children

August 2009: Di Pattison talk on Prehistoric stone carvings at Avebury

October 2009: 40th birthday celebrations, including talks from local poet John Killick and Chris Jakes, and a ‘Where’s Wally’ children’s event and a tea party

April 2010: Open Evening in the library

October 2010:  Poetry and prose evening

May 2011:   Antiques roadshow with Stephen Drake from Willingham auctions

October 2011: Talks by Alison Porter and Robert Williams on Restoring paintings and antique furniture plus quiz devised by Stephen Drake

April 2012: Poetry and prose evening

June 2012: Talk on Kilimanjaro expedition by a group of local residents

October 2012 Exhibition of photos from the Cambridgeshire collection of past jubilees and coronations, documents from the Cambridge Record Office, plus talk by Chris Jakes

February 2013: National libraries Day; tea, coffee and quizzes

February 2013: Celebration of Chinese New Year: crafts, tai chi, snacks

April 2013: Poetry and Prose Evening

September 2013: Poetry and Prose Evening

November 2013: Sunday afternoon social event for members with quizzes

March 2014: Poetry and Prose evening

May 2014: Solving cryptic crosswords

October 2014:  World War I exhibition

March 2015: Poetry and Prose evening (Young and old and in between)

October 2015: Feast weekend – Book Trail

October 2015: Poetry and Prose (Seven deadly sins)

November 2015: Family History Research talk by Caroline Norton

April 2016: Poetry and Prose (Nature)

October 2016: Feast weekend – Family Book Hunt

October 2016: Poetry and Prose (Elements)

April 2017 Poetry and Prose (My favourite things)

October 2017 Feast weekend – open library: local history exhibition, secondhand books, activities

October 2017 Poetry and Prose (Animals)

March 2018 Desert Island Discs

May 2018 Short story competition in WN

May 2018 Poetry and Prose (Wild and free)

Oct 2018 Feast weekend- open library with Art Group Exhibition and Old Willingham guess the location quiz

Oct 2018 Poetry and Prose (Humour)

Nov 2018 Desert Island Discs

April 2019 Children’s Easter Book Trail

May 2019 Poetry and Prose (Fun)

October 2019 Feast weekend – open library with Art Group exhibition, Old Willingham ‘guess the location quiz’ and refreshments

November 2019 Desert Island Discs

February 2020 Poetry and Prose (Valentines)

Since March 2020 due to the covid pandemic it has not been possible to hold any events inside the library, or the second hand bookstall

December 2020 Children’s christmas book trail

March/April 2021 Children’s design a springtime bookmark competition

Games afternoons recommenced in February 2022

Engage in the afternoon recommenced March 2022

Second hand book sales recommenced in March 2022

April 2022 Poetry and Prose evening on the subject of Earth Day

April 2022 Children decorate wooden easter eggs

June 2022 Visit by local crime writer Alison Bruce