Some of the Wigston Library group members. Photo by Bill Newsinger
We need more group leaders - can you help?
“By the sudden draft of cool air,
It could be, a door has opened
Somewhere in the evening quiet.
Someone hesitates on the threshold
With a faint smile
Of a happy premonition.”
(My Friend Someone, by Charles Simic)
Could you be that special someone we are looking for?
Would you like to meet new people, make a difference in your local community and indulge your love of literature? Volunteering with LSR as a shared reading group leader can offer all of this, together with inspiring training and the chance to be a member of a supportive and friendly team across Leicestershire.
We have a variety of opportunities available immediately, some to help run our virtual Zoom groups, and some to assist with our library-based groups:
We currently run three weekly online groups using Zoom, and following the departure or retirement of some of our leaders, each of our Zoom teams needs reinforcing.
First there is our Melton Mowbray group, which used to meet in the library but now likes to meet online, on Monday mornings. We also need someone to join one or both of the teams running our Zoom-based groups on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons. The beauty of running a group on Zoom is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, and it doesn't matter where you live.
If you live near Hinckley or in north-west Leicestershire, how about joining one of the teams running our groups in Hinckley, Ashby and Coalville libraries? Or if you live near Loughborough, we are keen to restart the in-person Loughborough Library group, having just retired the Zoom meetings there.
Whichever team you were to join, you would receive the support of your fellow group leaders and of the group members, and would benefit from stimulating and inspiring training.
You will be someone who enjoys reading for pleasure, is confident reading out loud and likes to meet new people and make connections. We would like you to attend a group (it doesn’t matter which) for a few weeks so you can develop a full understanding of what we do and what is required of our group leaders.
You can find more details of the volunteer role here. If you would like an informal chat, feel free to send us an email with your contact details, or go along to your local group and talk to the leader. Click here to see the details for all our groups: there is no need to book for the library-based groups, you can just drop in, but if you would like to come to a Zoom-based group we will need to send you an invitation and link.
Shorter meetings are now available
In response to feedback from some people that 90 minutes in front of a screen can be a little challenging, we have changed the length of our Wednesday evening virtual group to just an hour, making it, we hope, an even more enjoyable way to wind down after a hard day. We will be focusing on poems and shorter prose pieces. Let us know if you would like to join us and we will send you a link for the Zoom sessions.
"What I love about shared reading groups is that everyone is welcome and everyone is valued, reading sessions are accessible to all and are non-judgmental. The story or poem is always kept at the centre of the discussion, which enables the group to get the most out of it."
Helena, volunteer group leader
'Will I enjoy shared reading?'
The value of the shared reading experience to our members became clearer than ever during the pandemic, when many of them were at home and alone. We received some lovely feedback about our 'virtual' meetings and WhatsApp chats:
"I am so glad I saw the poster in the library. Joining this group is the best thing I have done for me for years. [It] has made the world of difference to me, even more so in the present circumstances. I just love it. Thank you everyone."
"I think this is a story relevant for these times. The current news is so disturbing we have to focus on our gardens and cooking to stay sane! Thank you again, for organising Shared Reading especially at this strange time. It is so appreciated."
"I have very much enjoyed the group & certainly found it a lifeline during the depths of lock down when it was sometimes my only chance to join in a conversation!"
Now that several of our groups are back meeting face to face, shared reading continues to delight and sustain our members, as this recent feedback shows:
“I feel I can express my opinions without feeling that I would be judged. I enjoy the positive responses I receive from my group. It makes me feel I belong to something.”
“I look forward to meeting other members and chatting. I feel we have come to know each other quite well over the years.”
“For a while you can forget what’s going on in the world and [have] company.”
“The word ‘shared’ is important. Listening to others reading and reading out loud myself stimulates learning.”
“[I get] shared pleasure in fuller appreciation of poetry and prose. The fun of working as a team.”
Want to join us?
Our groups are open to everyone, subject to capacity. If you'd like to join one and experience shared reading for yourself, find out about when and where our groups meet here - and if it's a library-based group, there is no need to book. It's free, there's no homework or preparation to do, and no obligation to attend every week.
If you'd like to join one of our Zoom-based groups, you'll need a device and a stable internet connection. Contact us at the email address below and we will send you a link.
We look forward to seeing you!