Library Now Open

Welcome back – the Library has now reopened. Opening times and numbers are a little
restricted but the books and the Christmas Stall are waiting for you.  We have to limit the time people spend in the library hence the amount of people being allowed in. 
New opening times: 
Monday – 10 to 12 then 1 to 4
Tuesday – 10 to 12 them 1 to 4
Wednesday – 10 to 12 
Thursday – 10 to 12 then 1 to 4
Friday – 10 to 12
Saturday – 10 to 12
There will be 3 computers in use and we ask that you book in advance. Due to the restrictions we can only allow 12 people in the building at one time, this includes two members of staff. A member of staff will be on the door to advise you when you can come in. We will still offer the chose and collect service between 10 and 4. Thank you for your continuing support. 
Posted on behalf of Brixham Library

December News


The last month has undoubtedly been one of mixed fortunes. Sadly, dominating the news – both national and in the library – has been the imposition of a second national lockdown. Once again, our planned events had been put into limbo. This has primarily affected the opening of our Christmas Market Stall which is now operating a choose and collect service until library opening resumes. These alternative arrangements hopefully will mean that you will be able to purchase gifts and goodies for Christmas. While this news is an undoubted blow, the safety of our staff, volunteers and library users remains the library’s highest priority.

When we have details of the Library reopening times we shall publish them here.

Bay Walks

As we have all heard we, like the rest of Devon, will be in Tier 2. The new guidance from Walking for Health inform us that group was in tiers ! and 2 can restart. However, after consulting the walk leaders we shall NOT be restarting the Monday Walk due to the number of Cvid cases in and around Brixham, We shall keep this under review, but the general feeling s to stay as we are until we have had the vaccine.

Keep walking, stay safe, and look forward to the time when we can all walk together again without risk.


Christmas Market Stall

The current Covid 19 pandemic poses many problems for us all and thus in this period of lockdown, we are looking at doing things differently. We were hoping to launch our Christmas Market Stall on Monday but with the library being closed to visitors into the building this is not possible at present.

However, over the last few weeks and months, friends have been busy making items to sell on the stall. We would like to invite you to take a look at our stall to see whether there is anything to help with your Christmas gift purchases this year. All items are being sold at very reasonable prices from model cars; knitted woollen bears; Christmas candles; keys racks to Christmas cards and decorations. Other goodies are also available. Newly made occasional tables and a magazine rack are also for sale. In addition, Christmas cakes (un-iced) can be ordered. These are made from a traditional family recipe which is tried and tested and is as good as it sounds. Once you have made a list of chosen items you will need to telephone the library to make an appointment to collect your chosen items – 01803 853870. To help things run smoothly payments must be made in cash and if you have the right money that’s even better.

All proceeds are being divided equally between Brixham Library and The Friends of Brixham Library. Please do let your friends, neighbours and family know about our Christmas Market Stall.

Finally, we are hoping that with the end of lockdown the library will reopen for use so that you can come in to see the market stall for yourself. In the meantime, please don’t wait as we know that some of the items will sell very quickly so order now to avoid disappointment.

PS – our winter raffle is still running, and tickets are available at £1.00 each from Brixham Library so do make an appointment to buy tickets. The raffle ends on Friday 11 December when the draw will take place.

Christmas Market Stall Gifts for Sale include:

  • Christmas Cards & Kits – £1.00
  • Handmade Fabric Doorstops – £4.00
  • Snow Wooden Decorations
  • Knitted Animals – £10.00 each
  • Mexican Spiced Onions in Cider Vinegar – £2.00 a jar
  • Christmas Angels £1.00 & £2.00 each
  • Handmade Baby Blankets – £5.00 each
  • Knitted Chain Garlands – £2.00
  • Knitted Teddies – £1.00 each
  • Model Wooden Buildings – £5.00 each
  • Vintage Mounted Model Vehicles – £5.00 each
  • Large Occasional Table – £25.00
  • Small Occasional Table – £15.00 each or two for £25.00
  • Handmade Key Holders – £5.00 each
  • Handbags – £4.00 each
  • Locally Made Magazine Rack – £10.00
  • Handmade Angel Decorations – £2.00 each
  • Christmas Candles – £3.00 each
  • Large Homemade Blanket – £15.00
  • Handmade Knitted Christmas Stockings – £1.00 each
  • Handmade Angel Decorations – £2.00 each
  • Handmade Tree Handing Sweetie Bags £1.00 each
  • Bunches of Lavender – 50p a Bunch
  • Handmade Bookmarks – £3.00 each
  • Handmade Mice – £2.00 each Bag

It’s a great way to kickstart your Christmas shopping!

If you hadn’t guessed from last month who the young librarian in the photo is, I can now reveal it is Sue Anderson nee Evans. The photograph was taken in Southway Library, Plymouth.


And Finally….

As we await to hear what further restrictions we will be experiencing when we move into Tier 2 on Wednesday 2 December, we are all hoping that our libraries will be able to reopen. However, in the meantime the choose and collect service is available to all. No fines are currently being charged during the closure period and staff are trying to work near normal hours to keep the service going even under their restricted circumstances. Any queries of concerns can be raised by tel; 01803 853870 and all the staff will be pleased to help you.








Alasdair Anderson

Chairman, The Friends of Brixham Library

23 November 2020

Lockdown News

Keep reading in Lockdown 2  as once again the library staff are once again providing a full Choose and Collect service

The Christmas Stall will be up and running from 16 November. You will be able to see the items for sale on the library Facebook page, or pick up a stall leaflet  at the Library. Just Choose and Collect (and pay).

And finally we are happy to announce that the Winter Raffle tickets are still on sale – just call the library on 01803-853870 and arrange a time to collect. Payment in cash with the right money preferred.



Friends Matter – November 2020


Welcome to another edition of Friends Matter. The expected lockdown has just been announced so many people and businesses are looking again at their plans for the run up to Christmas. At the Library we have been preparing our Christmas Market Stall which will have all sorts of goodies, Christmas treats, gifts and decorations as well as scrumptious handmade Christmas cakes.

We hope the Stall will open – with the Library – in the first week of December once the national lockdown is eased.  We will send out updates as we know more – in the meantime stay safe and keep reading. If restrictions persist longer than 2 December, then the Christmas Stall may well become an Easter Stall!

Winter Raffle

There is time to purchase raffle tickets for our Winter raffle. Tickets cost £1.00 each and are available from the reception desk when the Library is open. With an ever-growing range of prizes to win, please help the library by entering the draw which will take place before Christmas. All proceeds from the raffle are being split evenly between Brixham Library and The Friends of Brixham Library.

Museums Chit Chat

If you have been following the local news recently you may have caught up with the news that two local museums have reopened after a period of closure. The first is The Box in Plymouth which sees the museum expand next door into what was the former Plymouth Central Library along with the former St Luke’s Chapel at the rear of the museum. For many years this occupied by the libraries administrative, bibliographical and home services for Plymouth and West Devon. Can you identify the person taking a school class visit in the photo below?











The second museum to reopen is in Newton Abbot in the former St Leonards Church. Once again there is a strong library link with the Railway Studies Collection in the Passmore Edwards centre. It is interesting to note that both museums occupy former churches.

News Update from Libraries Unlimited

Libraries Unlimited recently held their Annual General Meeting and for the first time this was held on-line using Zoom.  Attended by Trustees, representatives from Friends groups and library staff from both Devon and Torbay, the meeting heard reports from both Professor William Harvey Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Alex Kittow, Chief Executive Libraries Unlimited. The meeting was looking back on events for 2019/2020 and already there are huge contrasts between levels of service pre-Covid 19 and current provision during the pandemic. Whilst many messages were conveyed during the AGM perhaps the most striking were the following very positive developments these last few months.  For example, eBook downloads have gone up in leaps and bounds; attendance at on-line Bounce & Rhyme times has proved very successful and above all no library staff have been furloughed, a huge achievement in these difficult times. If you would like to find out more, a reference copy of the Annual Report 2019/2020 is available in the library to read with a photo included on page 23 of the recently refurbished children’s library. As a colleague noted ‘The annual report has just been released by Libraries Unlimited and this shows off how well we are still providing a service for our local communities’. Can’t think of a better way of putting it.

News from the Front Line

Please note that as a result changing Covid 19, Brixham library has had to change a few procedures within the library meaning only one person is allowed at the main desk at all times. This could mean a slight delay and some queues and the staff we are asking library users to bear with them at this difficult and challenging time. When we know what the new lockdown service will be, we shall send you a separate email.


Whilst this caption is very apt, you don’t have to buy them to make you feel richer and that’s why our library is so important.

Torbay Council

It is easy to forget that Torbay Council still maintain a great interest in the four libraries in the Bay even though they have outsourced the day-to-day running and management of the service to Libraries Unlimited. As one of the main funders of the service the following is very important in terms of libraries of the future level of funding will be determined by the outcome of their budget setting. As you will see from the more below, you have an opportunity to tell them what you think about their budget proposals.

Torbay’s budget – it’s your business! Have your say

We’re launching our 2021/22 budget consultation this week and we want you to have your say.

Along with our partners and the wider community, we’re facing one of our most challenging periods in recent years. Our spending is going up to meet the emergency response costs of the pandemic and we are seeing an increase in demand for council services. In addition, the income we receive, which supports the services we deliver, has reduced massively this year. It’s not all bad news though – we have worked hard to make efficiency savings.

What we really want now is to hear your views so we can understand how these budget proposals may have an impact on you. We want to know how we can work together to mitigate the impact or find new solutions to help Torbay thrive. 

The budget proposals and link to the consultation can be viewed on the council  budget page.

In the News…

It is always a pleasure whilst reading through our local papers to spot comments about libraries in general and in particular about Brixham Library. Recently in his regular fortnightly column in the Herald Express, Capt. Bob Curtis did just this for which we take this opportunity to express our thanks. The Covid 19 pandemic has placed great pressures on library staff these last few months. So, the words of comfort expressed below are a much-valued expression of support for the work that they do.

Extract from the Herald Express – Wednesday 14 October 2020, Page 21


Joke of the Month

What is the longest word in the English Dictionary?

Smiles – because there is a mile between the first letter and the last!

Caption Competition

Responses to last month’s CAPTION COMPETITION were as follows:

‘Reading a good book always sends me to sleep’

‘Paws for thought!!’.

‘Well, if I’m not allowed on the chairs….’.

‘The camouflage isn’t working!!’

‘If I lie still they won’t see me!!’

‘When you’ve worked all morning doing the laundry then you’d feel exhausted too!!’

And Finally…..

As thoughts of travel or lack of travel this year haunt our thoughts, why not take a look at the new series of “Lonely Planet” guidebooks which hopefully will make you smile!!

Friends Matter – October 2020

‘Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness’

With a truly autumnal feel to the air, as the last gasp of summer is almost behind us, we can look forward to the colours of autumn in all its glory. Whilst the thought of colder times to come, along with mixed weather messages, like every season autumn brings its own colourful images. Bright skies; tractors hard at work; the smell of fruit and spices as jam, pickling and other culinary activities take place and gardens begin to shut down for the winter. As you’ll see we have a packed newsletter with lots going on and invitations to all to help and play a part in our fundraising activities. Furthermore, you can enjoy autumn with us every Monday morning on our regular health walk around Berry Head. It only takes an hour with stops along the way and many of us finish with a coffee stop and chance for a natter. At the time of writing the ‘rule of 6’ is in place but as an official walking group we are exempt. Be assured, we still comply with social distancing and encourage smaller groups of six when taking the walk. We would like to think that common sense prevails, and every opportunity is taken to lessen the risk so that we can continue walking under Covid 19 conditions.

The Great Return


On Monday 7 September, Brixham Library returned to its normal hours of opening. You might wonder why I mention this but all through the pandemic, our library has been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries to enable its services to come back to you as soon as possible. In a sense, Emma and her team have been trialling what could be done to enable safe use for both staff and library users and their experiences have proved of huge benefit to the wider library community in both Torbay and Devon. As I write this, 48 of the 54 libraries are now open and in comparison, to library services in other parts of the UK are well ahead of the game. Library staff have been involved in conversations with libraries outside of the Devon area to learn from their experiences both in the UK and abroad and can well be considered market leaders in this respect. As libraries have reopened, take-up has been very varied and it will come as no surprise that in larger towns and cities, return numbers are lower than normal reflecting the change in lower high street visitor patterns as a result of the pandemic. However, for many the library was the first-place people had visited when venturing out for the first time, as they felt safe visiting, and this is surely an accolade to treasure and nurture with those who still have concerns about going out.

Loyalty Card News


We are always pleased to receive news from our loyalty card partners and none more so than from Chloe Pavely, who runs the Fishcombe Cove Café. Many of you will have seen articles in the local press and on local TV news as she championed her ‘Spend a Penny’ campaign. She writes:

With regards to Autumn, the cafe is now trading Tuesday – Sunday 11am until 4pm (weather depending). We hope the cafe will stay open until November this year, just after the October Half Term however this is weather dependent. 

 We have new items on the menu including new Italian Tascas, filled with exciting fillings, served hot to keep warm on autumnal days. Our bread bowls will be filled with tasty Homemade soups. And we have a range of gluten free and vegan cakes to accompany freshly ground coffee, fair trade tea or hot chocolate. 

 With regards to The Spend A Penny Project, we hosted a few fundraisers over the summer holidays, and have raised an incredible £3,000 in total. This will keep the toilet block open for the remainder of this year, and for next year. I plan to renovate them, hoping they will eventually enhance the area, I would like to put new sinks in and get electricity up and running too. This will all be down to Torbay Council allowing me to do so, but the support has been overwhelming so far.

 Such news above is always good to hear and we hope that you will continue to support our loyalty card partners as they support FoBL and in turn the library in so many different ways.


Brixham Maid

FoBL is pleased to welcome Brixham Maid to our loyalty card scheme. Sally opened the shop in Middle Street earlier this year and has a fine range of locally made jams, pickles and chutneys for sale and of course they are all her own work. Sally writes:

‘My mother was my inspiration, she taught me the value of homegrown produce.  From early childhood we would enjoy making seasonal jams, pickles and chutneys using freshly harvested ingredients from the garden. Many years on my passion for making preserves has been reignited through an abundance of crops grown on my allotment. I began experimenting, pairing, creating exciting flavours and with it my understanding for the science and art of preserving developed. Proving popular amongst friends and family the journey of Brixham Maid began. Brixham is home for me. I live with my husband, children and our Jack Russell ‘Josie’. Jam HQ is an old fisherman’s’ cottage over-looking the beautiful harbour – it’s where the magic happens’.

​If you haven’t visited yet, you won’t be disappointed as they not only taste good but make wonderful presents as well as treats. Sally is offering all current FoBL members a 10% discount if you spend more than £15.00. So, with Christmas on the far horizon this may help to solve all those gift problems for you.

For further information why not check out Sally’s website or just call into the shop.

44 Middle Street, Brixham, Devon, TQ5 8EJ.

Grand Raffle & Christmas Market Stall

With autumn and thoughts of Christmas starting to bubble to the surface, we have joined together with Brixham Library with a Seasonal Raffle. Tickets cost £1.00 each and are already available in the library. The draw is taking place on 13 December 2020 so there is plenty of time to encourage all your friends, neighbours and relatives to pop into the library to buy some and you never know perhaps borrow a book at the same time. Like any raffle it is only as good as its prizes and Emma would welcome any donations to add to her growing collection which amongst other things currently includes:

  • Taste hamper
  • Alexa show 5
  • Lipsy set
  • Brixham Maid hamper
  • 2 x children diy smiggle drinks kits and pencil case

There will be more prizes to follow.

This nicely leads into the next joint initiative as we are planning a Christmas Market Stall in the library selling a whole range of goodies and gifts. We hope to launch this towards the end of November and hopefully more news in the November newsletter. In the meantime, if you would like to donate jars of jam, pickles, relish or chutney, soft toys (made from safety compliant materials), craft items, Christmas cards and tree decorations, please do pop them into the library the next time you are passing. Many local shops have lots of Christmas themed fabrics and trimmings and Sandy in Brixham Sewing Box is always pleased to help and advice with ideas. We hope to be able to provide cover for the stall some of the time and the library have kindly agreed to fill in the gaps.

Proceeds from both the raffle and the stall will be split between Brixham Library and FoBL. In the absence of our normal income generation activities this year we will be able to fill the empty hole in our coffers so that we can continue to support the library in every way we can.

Brixham Museum

A recent e-mail sent to us may be of interest and reads as follows:
From: legendarytenseconds <>

I have just released a new album of songs about the history of Torbay and I am donating money to Torquay museum from the sale of the CDs. One of the songs is about William of Orange landing at Brixham. Here is a link to the song: –

The Pageant of Torbay Part One Poster

Here is a link to the album—part.html

Regards, Ian Churchward

Mob: 07484300210

 And Finally…..

CAPTION COMPETITION – no prizes but please send me your entries for publication in next month’s newsletter.















‘When you’ve worked all morning doing the laundry then you’d feel exhausted too!!’

Friends Matter September 2020


As we all continue to respond to life under Covid 19 conditions one might be asking do we need a recharge? Whether you’re looking for family inspiration, outdoor adventure or simply a place to pause, Brixham Library has the answer this summer. Whether at home, in the library or just out and about take a book with you, you can always read about how to paddle a canoe, what you can feed the ducks with or just read a book about somewhere beautiful. In times of stress, our libraries have even more to offer. So, why not reconnect with your family, with friends, or with your own inner-calm as you enjoy a good read.

A close friend brought the following to my attention. She writes, ‘I first saw this saying on one of the benches around the harbour when the Pom Pom angels were decorating them to cheer us up. I thought it was a lovely approach to managing the current situation. I don’t know who wrote it but it’s lovely!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!’

Couldn’t have put it better myself and I hope you all feel the same way!!

© – Photo by Kate Graeme-Cook from Elberry Common


September has in past years been the start of the autumn programme of events and activities. However, in these unsettled and unpredictable times all our activities are on hold and many of the planned events are being held until next year of which more later. Thanks, must go to all those who have been so understanding about this but then we are no different from others in the same boat. However, I am pleased to say that our Monday ‘Walking for Health’ walk is up and running, all be it by a modified route and we have been pleased at the numbers turning up. For some, it is still a mite early to join in such an activity but be assured we have social distancing in mind and a walk is always a good walk.

In our last newsletter we were able to share some of the experiences of lockdown from Emma and Sarah. Thus, I was pleased to receive the following in my mail which I am delighted to share with you. Julie writes:

‘Really enjoyed reading about the experiences of the librarians especially the Sarah Millican faux pas which cracked me up! I’d have laughed just as heartily if I’d read that in the original message.  It might even become my new mantra hahahaha.  The article will certainly help me view the young ladies in a more personal way’.

Future Events

With the onset of the pandemic our events and activities programme instantly went on hold and as time has gone on our restart date continues to be put back. However, Helen has been busy behind the scenes and has provided the following update for you as follows:

Hello Friends of Brixham Library

Well, much was organised for the Friends this year but unfortunately, due to circumstances completely out of our control, could not take place. 

So, moving positively forward to 2021 hopefully the following events can go ahead:

  • Talk and tour of Paignton Zoo
  • Evening meal and entertainment at Guardhouse Cafe Berry Head
  • Boules and Buffet at Berry Head Hotel
  • Visits to The Met Office in Exeter.
  • Visit/Tour to Exeter Cathedral
  • Wine Tasting with nibbles at the Wine Loft in Brixham
  • Fish and Chip evening with entertainment 
  • Evening boat trips.

And anything else that comes along………

Happy to look into any suggestions from Friends regarding trips / talks etc. They can be left with the staff at Brixham Library for me.

 Here’s to 2021.


Walking for Health – Monday Walk as from Monday 10 August 2020

Brixham Bay Walks – Restarting the Monday Walk

After this long pause Walking for Health have now given the green light to restart group walks.

All walks have to be managed in line with all Government guidance like social distancing and limitation on numbers to keep us all safe.

We would ask that we all wear face coverings at least for the start of the walk while we all congregated together.  The route will be along the footpath next to Berry Head Road as this will avoid the stiles and narrow sections of the coast path.  Depending on the number of walkers we may need to split into two groups to keep within the guidelines.

We have to keep contact details of all walkers to give to Track and Trace teams if they are required, this is the sole purpose of this data that has to be kept for 21 days minimum.  Once the Covid emergency is over and the contact data is no longer required it will be destroyed.

 Coastal Path Walk to Berry Head

All are welcome on this walk, which is once again designed for a wide range of abilities. We meet at the rear of Douglas House in Gillard Road, Brixham at 10.00am every Monday morning whatever the weather.

For more information about these walks please contact:

Mike O’Donnell tel: 01803 844013    Alasdair Anderson tel: 01803 850255  

Outgoings – Jottings from the Treasurer

Since lockdown, whilst we have all missed all the events and activities of more normal times, we have still been active in supporting library needs. So far this year we have spent:

To LU for the Summer Reading Game                                                          £30.00

Prizes for Summer Reading Game                                                                £50.00

Recourses for activity packs                                                                           £60.00

Web Site                                                                                                                  £95.40

Replacement paddles and spares for the Defibrillator                      £206.40

So, if you have any doubts about paying your subs this year and just haven’t been able to pay them yet, your help through the annual subscriptions is a real help to us in continuing to support our library. I am also reminded that under current data protection legislation we are required to delete all personal information from our data base if subscriptions haven’t been renewed. This of course was put in place without a pandemic in mind and hopefully our annual fee of £5.00 is something you will feel happy to support or even consider as a donation for this year. Any queries please contact either Angie Robson, our Membership Secretary or myself, Jo Gale.

Photo from the Archives

This photo shows the previous library building that many will remember with great fondness. Originally opened as a drill hall it later became the Public Library in Brixham and was run by the County Council up until 1968 when the newly created County Borough of Torbay was formed. In 1974, library services transferred back into the county and the present library building was one of the few new builds by the then Devon Library & Information Services. The ornamental stonework above the entrance can be seen in Brixham Museum from time to time.

If you have any photos of past times, we would love to see them, along with any of your library anecdotes and recollections.


And finally……

Pronunciation Poem

I take it you already know

Of tough and bough and cough and dough?

Others may stumble, but not you,

On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps

To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,

That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead – it’s said like bed not bead –

And for goodness’ sake don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat

(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not the moth in mother,

Nor both in bother, broth in brother.

And here is not a match in there,

Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.

And then there’s dose and rose and lose –

Just look them up – and goose and choose,

And cork and work and card and ward,

And font and front and word and sword,

And do and go and thwart and cart –

Come, come I’ve hardly made a start.

A dreadful language? Man alive.

I’d mastered it when I was five.

Jennifer Wagner / Lynn Westmore


Stop Press

As from Monday 24 August the hours of opening for Brixham Library have been further extended as follows:

Mon, Tues & Thurs     10.00 – 12.30  13.30 – 16.00

Wed, Fri & Sat            10.00 – 12.30 


Do you have the missing raffle ticket?

Brixham Futures raffle was held on  Sunday 26 July, but the winner has not been found.  The winning ticket number is 0933.

The prize is either £2,000 in cash or holiday cruise (when restrictions are lifted
this year or next).

Details of how to claim are given on the ticket and the winner
must come forward by midnight on Sunday 23 August with proof of purchase. If
the prize is not claimed, then the draw will be made again after that date so do
not discard tickets until notification that the prize has been successfully claimed.

For further information please contact:

John Rudden: 01803 475739
John Brennan: 01803 852270

Friends Matter – August Update

Welcome to the August edition of Friends Matter and since our last edition, Brixham Library has reopened.

The bunting is up and although the hours may be reduced you will of course receive a huge welcome from Emma and her team. It’s been a huge learning curve for them, but they are proving that a library can be open under pandemic conditions. Their experience as one of the four libraries that reopened at the beginning of July will hopefully help others to follow in their wake. However, you may be wondering how the staff coped during our recent period of lockdown, so, here’s their story through the eyes of Emma and Sarah:


Life at the coal face: Emma’s story….

When I closed the library doors on Friday 20th March, I never thought the next time I would open them would Monday 6th July! Very emotional.

Working from home has been a roller-coaster to say the least. We’ve all had tears, laughter and lots of learning. Oh, and SO many Zoom* calls, which my 5-year old son managed to gate-crash nearly every one of them, either needing something to eat or drink, or just wanting the camera to be on him!

Like so many people, juggling working from home and home schooling our children, we have all found it difficult. Sarah and Becca have done an amazing job delivering ‘Music, Rhythm and Rhyme’. I remember Sarah doing a live session and the microphone wasn’t on, so I tried phoning her mobile, home phone and texting her as we could not hear her. Sarah’s husband who was “DJ” unplugged the home phone as he thought everyone watching could hear it ringing. I even sent Sarah’s son a message to say we couldn’t hear her. After the session Sarah phoned me and we had a great laugh over it. Loads of people commented that we couldn’t hear it but because of the actions we knew what song she was doing.

We also had another funny experience when a member of staff shared an author’s promotional clip on Facebook and didn’t realise that at the end they said a swear word and we had to try and delete it, through the laughter we now know to watch it to the end before sharing something .

Michelle said she has also had to learn how to edit craft videos because once it is done and she watches it back she finds her children or husband are in the background!

We all have had to get use to a new way of working, which was scary as none of us where familiar with posting live/scheduled video, editing them and social media in general. But we did it! and I couldn’t be prouder of my team.

I have to say a BIG thank you to Alasdair who answered my cheeky messages about letting workmen into the library early in the morning, meaning I wouldn’t need to travel. Most of these being last minute. Thank you, my old man, I really appreciate it.

The power of a library card is so under-estimated, as we had an email from someone who found a purse and they contacted us as the person had a library card. Becca picked up the purse and delivered it straight to our customer.

Brixham library had the phone forward to myself (only library to do this) I tried to answer every call I could. I had a call late on a Saturday evening from a lady that lived up country and was worried about the welfare of her friend. (sorry I can’t go into details), but I contacted the police and Sarah dropped on some food for him within half an hour of the call.

Finally, when I got the call to say we could be the pilot library in Torbay we all had mixed emotions. Happy to be finally opening our doors again but also worried as we would not be able to help people like we would normally do. Thankfully, most people have been amazing and so pleased we have opened. We have had lots of IT issues in the first week and many people have travelled from Torquay and Paignton to use the computers, so, they were understandable frustrated. But hopefully this is all now sorted.

Thank you all for being amazing and supporting us throughout this difficult time.

Kind regards, Emma

Emma Aydemir – Team Leader, Brixham Libra

NB: Zoom – a relatively new piece of software designed to help on-line meetings. Other similar software is available known as Googles ‘Meet’ & Microsoft ‘Teams’.

Sarah’s Story

For me the biggest challenge at the beginning of Lockdown was my technophobia and lack of skills around social media. On the very first day of working from home I was asked to download Zoom and Trello, neither of which I had heard of, let alone used. I also had to learn very quickly to improve my Facebook skills!

When I did the first live MRR from the library, I found I was getting messages popping up from old colleagues from years ago, as well as far flung friends and family, and as I carried on singing, I wondered how come all these people followed Brixham Library. It turns out I had been broadcasting live on my own personal Facebook page, and not the library’s.

Sound has been an issue. On my first ever Zoom meeting, having struggled to work out how to log on etc, I found everyone chatting away (all Torbay library staff) but I couldn’t work out how to get sound. I was texting Emma to ask if she could hear me, which she couldn’t so I resorted to holding up pieces of paper with what I wanted to say written on. In time I did eventually work out how to converse!

Sound issues were also a problem on one of the Music Rhythm and Rhyme sessions. For some reason I was broadcasting live but no sound was coming out for those watching. People were messaging in the comments that they couldn’t hear, but I couldn’t see these. Emma tried to phone me on my mobile to tell me, but I had turned it to silent while I was doing the music live. Emma then tried to ring my home number, and my husband ran and turned the phone off at the wall, so we weren’t disturbed. Eventually we came to the end of the broadcast not knowing it had all been silent. One of our parents had posted “we can’t hear you but don’t worry we can tell what you are doing by the actions, you do the actions and we will do the singing!” This session became known as the “music rhythm and mime” session.

One last incident was a lesson in not sharing items indiscriminately on Facebook. I saw Sarah Millican talking on her Facebook page saying that she would be reading excerpts from her book “how to be champion” and I shared this on the library page. However, I hadn’t watched it to the end. Having posted it and then watched it I knew all about the book, when it would be read each day etc and she ended with “so join me then, and in the meantime, stay safe, stay home and wash your f****ing hands!” I went totally into panic mode having shared this on the library page, and although I knew how to delete things of course, on this occasion it wouldn’t give me the option to delete. I phoned Becca and Michelle, who are far more computer savvy than me for help, but neither were answering their mobiles. I rang Emma, and she couldn’t stop laughing, I think panic and hysteria had hit. Neither of us could remove the post. Then my 15-year old son just walked into the room, pressed a few keys, deleted the post and walked out without saying anything. Disaster averted, and lesson learnt!

By the end of lockdown, I was able to create and edit films, and have become more confident and I hope a little more proficient.

My highlight of the lockdown has to be the brilliant Book cover challenge. So many people of all ages joined in with real humour, and it was so uplifting for us. They are still available to see on our Facebook page if you click on photos and the book cover challenge album if anyone missed it!

Best wishes, Sarah.

Sarah – Library Assistant, Brixham Library

Window Boxes

During lockdown it wasn’t possible to keep our planters outside the library alive and watered. However, local gardener and horticulturalist John Harvey came to the rescue with an offer to tidy up the plants and replace them for us. Having had a working group down to tidy up the entrance and ramp areas they were swept, clean and tidy but lacked something with the empty boxes. So early one Wednesday morning, I met up with John and Yvonne to get some planting done and they will look lovely once the begonias have settled down in their new home. Thank you to John for supplying the plants and for his generosity of time and to Yvonne for all her help.

And now about me …

Profuse apologies for a personal plug but I am pleased to announce that I have recently been elected by representatives of Friends groups in both Devon and Torbay to join the Executive Board of Libraries Unlimited. My tenure is initially for three years and whilst representing the needs and views of Friends groups I will of course be taking on a wider role as a Board member. I take this opportunity to thank the FoBL committee for their full support and I now look forward to my first meeting in September either in person or by using Zoom.


In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet up with two of our members who have a holiday home in Brixham but haven’t been able to visit for a while, mostly because of the pandemic. It was a wonderful opportunity to get some feedback from them about the newsletter. Whilst being limited by the copy that is available each month, they both liked our newsy style and the breadth of library topics covered.

Contributions , whether text and or photographs would be much appreciated and can be left for my attention in the library or e-mailed to the FoBL contact address

Summer Activities

We have been told that that for the time being normal children’s activities will not be going ahead for the rest of the year and into next. As the library would normally be doing things throughout the summer and during half term holidays, the library is hoping to make up some activity packs. Each will have a theme and we have been asked to make a contribution towards the resources that they will need. One of the suppliers has a sale on so we hope to get good value from the money we spend. Our thanks to Emma and the girls for making the most of an opportunity to help our younger users during the holidays.

News from the Membership Secretary

Angie has asked me pass on her thanks thank to all those people who have renewed their FOBL membership for this year. This is also a reminder to the outstanding people that £5 can be put in an envelope labelled with your name & last year’s number & dropped into the library or returned via the book drop box. 2019/2020 cards will remain valid this year provided membership has been renewed. Payment enables us to continue to support library activities as mentioned in the previous article.

Remember your Mask







And finally……


Alasdair Anderson,

Chairman – The Friends of Brixham Library July 2020