May 26, 2023
Spotlight on - Llani Library of Things
Climate action in Mid-Wales
In beautiful mid-Wales, a network of picturesque market towns link former drovers paths, an echo to the farming heritage of the past. But don’t be fooled into thinking these are sleepy traditional communities, because you’d be very wrong! In this area you will find some astounding groups and projects that bring people together to take action for our planet.
Zero Carbon Llanidloes Di-Garbon
One such group is Zero Carbon Llanidloes Di-Garbon, who were established in 2020 to take community action on climate issues. As John Bimson, Chair of Zero Carbon Llanidloes Di-Garbon notes:
“We believe in taking practical action to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies we are all facing. We have identified 10 key areas where we want to make a difference, ranging from renewable energy and energy efficiency, to locally produced food.”
Zero Carbon Llanidloes Di-Garbon run a number of exciting projects, from restoring hay meadows, a community PV project, and a repair café.
Piloting a Library of Things
When the group came to Benthyg Cymru looking to establish a Library of Things with a small pot of funding that had to be spent in 3 months, our advice was that it was going to be tough – but these guys were the ones to do it!
Llani Library of Things got up and running in record time, with the help of a project officer working one day a week and an amazing team of volunteers.
As Maya Bimson, Secretary of Zero Carbon Llanidloes Di-Garbon, and lead on the Llani LoT project said:
“We reached out to Benthyg at the start, and they gave us great advice.
They recommended looking into insurance as a priority and to start by engaging with the community.
We did both, and our posts about a Library of Things were some of the most popular social media posts we have done! People clearly get the idea and can see what a valuable resource it could be for the local community.
“We held donation days, where people could drop off items, our repairers would check them, and then they would be photographed and catalogued. We received a huge number of wonderful donations, and we could then spend the budget we had on purchasing other items people had said they would really like to borrow.”
The project was originally funded by UK Community Renewal Fund and Llanidloes Energy Solutions and ran for three months with the aim of piloting the Library of Things concept in Llanidloes.
However, the group have recently been successful in securing a grant from the Prince’s Countryside Fund, which will allow the Llani LoT to continue for another 2 years. As Maya noted:
“This is great news for us and we are so grateful to the Princes Countryside Fund! We know the community are really interested in the Library of Things; this gives it a real opportunity to be embedded in everyday life in Llani. For us, it’s about how we normalise the Library of Things here, so that people automatically think of us rather than of buying from new.
“We have lots of ideas on how we can make access to the Library of Things as easy as possible, and how we can keep running it to the future without the need for grants or too much volunteer time! We look forward to working on these ideas, to try and ensure that this remains a community resource for many years to come!”
Part of the funding was to employ a project officer to manage the project for the next two years. Osian Gwent, a successful local artist has recently been appointed to the role, and stated that:
“It’s great to be involved in such an exciting project as the Llanidloes Library of Things. It brings the community together and helps us all reduce our impact on the planet – what’s not to like?!”
In the month since Osian began, his striking images on posters and social media posts have really sparked interest in the Library of Things – there has been a 38% increase in the number of people becoming members and a 77% increase in loans.
Check them out!
Llanidloes Library of Things is open for pick-ups and returns 2-6pm Tuesday-Friday. Membership is free and borrowing fees are very low. For more info, to sign up or borrow click here.