North Harrow Community Library provided important community services by allowing users access to computers and the internet.
During Covid, the Harrow Giving grant meant it could still provide adapted services, including Zoom Rhyme time, video stories and book reviews on their YouTube channel, Writer’s in Interview and a special story time Drag Queen story.
Additionally, NHCL regularly took calls from the local community; for example a young family needed help and asked Age UK for advice regarding council tax. A 70 year old needed help with renewing his driving licence. Another popular request was for scanning and printing important documents.
NHCL has managed to survive and post-Covid, is still going strong. The clientele at the moment has become younger, the hope is for older people to return to use their services in the near future, as they become more confident. It has around 300 children per term on school visits for literacy, after which many of the students have become new members. From the end of 2020 NHCL has gained 600-700 new members. It provides IT training for people to use their own hardware, such as smart phones and tablets. The knitting club has donated baby blankets, hats for the homeless and more recently bunting for the NHCL Jubilee Street Party, which was attended by over 450 people.
Currently there are 70 volunteers, including an increasing number of younger people, who help run the library. Most of the volunteers have returned since the lifting of restrictions and have seen benefits to their overall well-being and reducing their sense of isolation.
It is evident that NHCL plays an important role as a community hub across all ages. Improving literacy, engagement with arts and culture, providing skills and experience that enable younger users to get paid work. Equally, reducing social isolation, development of English and digital skills and access to IT, for adults.