This year we are going to be introducing you to our hard working volunteers. We begin with Wendy Eldridge the indefatigable leader of the Friends of the PMI Library. We asked her to write about her work at the PMI and the role the Friends play. As Wendy makes clear, the Friends are very much a team and we acknowledge all their dedicated work.
The Friends setting up a book sale
Wendy at Clunes Book Fair just having finished setting up
I was asked if I mind writing about being a volunteer at the PMI. I joined the PMI around 10 years ago, I was so excited to find a library that allows you to take home Family History reference books. Coming from NSW I had never found a library to equal the PMI.
In 2016 I attended a meeting with a group of PMI members and Christine Worthington was proposing to organise a “Friends of the Library group”. After some thought I put my hand up to volunteer. Christine then informed me that the PMI thought I should be the coordinator of the Friends of the PMI Library and with a bit of encouragement from Christine I accepted the role.
Nearly three years on and I have had the most enjoyable fun. We started with a group of four and organised the first duty of the group, to hold a book sale. At the moment we have about eight of us who assist with the book sales and many other activities, and I have found lovely friends. I am technically their leader, but many a day I can be the coffee maker, we have created a team and welcome each other’s input to improving the book sales. We have also developed a good association with the Cinema group and the Railway group that both occupy areas in the library.
Many that know me say I am passionate about Family History, some would say I am obsessed (I think I’ll stick with passionate). In 2017 the PMI Friends Group began organising Family History lessons, thus forming a teaching group. I was so pleased the Friends Group was growing and among us we are developing a group of members happy to bring and share their time and talents.
I have always believed the PMI to be a gold mine for researching ever since I first discovered it. I have been doing my own Family History for over 20 years, publishing books on my family and helping others to design their family story. Family History is very much a sharing of knowledge and family information. I hold a certificate in Family History search and the other ladies from our Friends teaching group have very valuable knowledge and skills to share.
From the lessons the idea came to form a Family History Social group to meet once a month on the 1st Monday of each month. We started last November, and we hope that many members take advantage of having Volunteers in the library that can help them travel the exciting journey of unraveling their ancestries. There are so many gems to be found in the library.
I am very fortunate that my work as a Managing Sales Representative is only three days a week, and enjoyable, allowing me two days if I wish to come in to PMI and volunteer. It always takes me an hour and 10 minutes to get there and going home can take two hours, but the rewards of the people I volunteer with, the staff and committee and all the members we get to meet and know is so worth it.
My goal for 2019 is to encourage members to come and help The Friends of PMI Library Group, to grow in volunteer numbers and to encourage many new people to join this gem of a library as it is unique. Thank you to everyone who works alongside me you are the reason you often see my name in print, without you I wouldn’t be having the fun I so enjoy.