Meet the Volunteers
‘I enjoy the fellowship of all the volunteers, pulling together to attract people to use the facilities’.
Carol is a retired primary school teacher who has lived in Low Fell all of her life. She is married, has a son and two grandsons. Carol has a wide range of interests including; music, bowls, theatre and local history. She has been a volunteer at the library since it became staffed by volunteers. As Carol has used the Gateshead libraries since childhood, her main reason for volunteering is to keep Low Fell Library open. Carol works on the desk at the library, however one of her main roles, along with fellow volunteer Audrey, is to organise the library’s Christmas, Easter and Summer Fairs. In addition, Carol and Audrey are also in charge of catering when the library holds special performances such as last year’s poetry readings to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War. Carol enjoys the fellowship of all of the volunteers and the feeling that we all pull together to encourage people to use the library.
Carol’s favourite book is ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini.
‘The library provides a lifeline for so many people, even if it is just somewhere to come for a chat, which in itself is a source of pleasure.’
Since graduating with a degree in Metallurgy from Leeds University Terry, now retired, has worked in a variety of jobs in the wire and cable industry. Terry is an avid reader and also enjoys walking. He and his wife both like going to the theatre and to concerts. In his younger days Terry was a keen rugby player and champion competitive ballroom dancer. Terry has used the public libraries since his school days and was a library assistant at his secondary school. He decided to volunteer because he has always valued libraries and did not want to see the closure of Low Fell Library. Terry has been a volunteer at Low Fell from the beginning and has found working in the library to be an opportunity to meet new people, to make new friends and to learn new skills. He has various roles in the library; in addition to ‘desk duties’, Terry is also our Health and Safety Officer and has been able to use the skills he developed during his working life in this position. He is also a Trustee of Low Fell Library Association, advises on employment skills, such as CV writing, and liaises with local schools who use the library. We all consider Terry to be our resident expert on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’!
Terry’s favourite book is ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak.
‘I volunteered because I used this library and wanted it to continue.’
Eileen was born in Felling and moved to Low Fell in 1980.Now retired, during her working life Eileen was employed in various clerical roles within the NHS. These days Eileen is a Governor for the Gateshead Health Trust. She is married with a daughter, a son and two grandsons. Eileen enjoys reading, walking and crosswords. From childhood, starting at the age of seven when she visited the old Felling Library with her mother, Eileen has been a regular user of the Gateshead libraries. She remembers the library as being a place where ‘you had to keep quiet’. Eileen’s son continues in the family tradition and regularly takes his older son to the library. Eileen, one of the original volunteers at Low Fell, volunteered to work in the library because she wanted it to continue, seeing it not only as somewhere to borrow books but also as a meeting place. Volunteering coincided with Eileen’s retirement and she enjoys the feeling of being part of a group and being needed when working at the library. Working on the desk at the library gives Eileen the opportunity to meet other volunteers and library users.
Eileen’s favourite book is ‘The City of Joy’ by Dominique Lapierre.
‘I see libraries as being very important for the local community, not just for books but also as a social hub and an important support service for adults and children.’
Gill is a landscape architect and works in Newcastle for an engineering and environmental consultancy. She graduated from Newcastle University in 1980, after completing an undergraduate degree in London, where she grew up. She moved to Low Fell in 1985 and lives here with her partner and two cats. Gill enjoys playing golf as well as reading and films. Another of our original volunteers, Gill began reading at the age of three and has always used the public libraries, starting with her childhood local library in East Barnet in North London. She was motivated to volunteer by the threat of closure and wanted to assist in keeping the local library open for the local people. Gill does confess however, that volunteering has helped to satisfy a childhood ambition, which was at one stage, to be a librarian. As Gill still works full-time she works on the desk at the library on a Saturday morning and finds that it gives her a break, from her day job, both mentally and physically. She is also a Trustee of Low Fell Library Association.
Gill’s favourite series of books are the ‘Dark Tower’ series by Stephen King.
‘Libraries are important community buildings with various uses such as; computing, activity groups like Rhyme Time and events for children in the school holidays.’
Alison was born in Penrith, Cumbria and moved to Low Fell in 1986. She is married with two grown up children. Alison has had various jobs and took early retirement in August 2015, from her job as a pre-school leader in Birtley, in order to pursue her hobbies and to become involved in voluntary work. She began visiting the library in Penrith as a child and brought her children to Low Fell Library. Alison is one of our more recent volunteers and leads Rhymetime on a Thursday morning. She volunteered to lead Rhymetime as she used to enjoy singing with the children at the nursery where she worked. She feels that volunteering allows her to give something back to the local community. Alison will also will be helping with craft activities at our seasonal fairs. The things Alison likes best about volunteering are; feeling that she is helping the community, getting to know the other volunteers and getting to know the adults and children who attend Rhymetime.
‘Until I volunteered I didn’t appreciate that the library is not just about borrowing books and using the computers, it is also a vital source of social contact for many people’
Susan was born in Gateshead but has also lived in Oxford, Australia and the USA, where she worked as a scientific research technician. She is married to Craig and has a grown up daughter called Katherine. Susan was taken to Gateshead Central Library by her father from an early age and these visits helped to inspire a love of reading which has lasted for all of her life. Susan’s family have a strong connection with Low Fell Library. She took Katherine to Low Fell Library throughout her childhood and Susan’s late father, Edward, was a regular user of the library too. Susan is one of the original volunteers at Low Fell and volunteered because she was concerned that, without the support of the volunteers, the library would close. On a personal level she was also looking for a new challenge. Susan works behind the desk at the library and is a Trustee of Low Fell Library Association. She also helps at the seasonal fairs and special events at the library. By working at the library Susan has made lots of new friends and has acquired new skills. She really enjoys helping to provide and preserve a valuable service to the public.
Susan’s favourite series of books is the ‘Big Stone Gap’ series by Adrianna Trigiani.
‘I wanted to do some voluntary work after I retired…when the grandchildren did not need so much attention I wanted to do something for the community and this opportunity came up’
Elsie was born in Rowlands Gill and now lives in Birtley. She is retired, however during her working life she worked in a number of places including; the DHSS, various banks and building societies and Thomas De La Rue. Elsie is married and in her spare time she enjoys sewing, decorating and line dancing. Although Elsie did not join a library until she was thirty, her daughter was a member of Low Fell Library and her grandchildren have been members since they were eighteen months old. Another of our original volunteers at Low Fell Library, Elsie has recently become a Trustee of Low Fell Library Association. In addition to working behind the desk, Elsie is also responsible for ordering the stationery for the library and assists our Treasurer. Recently Elsie successfully organised a library fund raising book event at ASDA and a collection for the library in association with the Co-op on Low Fell. Elsie became a volunteer at the library because she wanted to do something for the community. She believes that it is important to keep libraries open because, not only do they provide access to computers for people who do not have one at home, they are also a venue for community events for both adults and children. Elsie enjoys being part of the group of volunteers running the library and likes to provide assistance with the computers and helping at our events.
Elsie has too many favourite books to mention, however she would particularly recommend ‘I Am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes, a thriller with lots of twists and turns