CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study on Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries

Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries Case Study

Launched in 2012, the partnership between Glasgow Life and Macmillan Cancer Support, the first of its kind in the UK, operates 34 cancer support and information services across Glasgow, including one in each of our 33 libraries.

The volunteer-led, community based programme has delivered cancer support and information to over 2,500 affected by cancer throughout 2016, up 21% on the previous year, with more than 130 volunteers donated 5,000 hours of their time to provide practical and emotional support to people across Glasgow.

Since its launch it has had over 10,000 attendances at its drop-in and information services across the city. One such user of the service discussed their experience:

“2 years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 72. Up until my 70’s I had no practice being ill, I was bouncing around with lots of energy, that’s why I think I took this so bad. The actual diagnosis took a while to receive as I had to attend two hospitals plus the Beatson for different tests and biopsies. When I did receive my diagnosis I initially refused the treatment options – I was on my own and didn’t think I would be able to cope. Later I changed my mind.

In February 2016, I was in the middle of the hormone treatment and because I lived on my own I was involved with the Good Morning Service who called me to support over the phone. They referred me to Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries and I got a call from one of the team. It’s like a dream world looking back, I don’t remember details well, but I told the lady on the phone that I felt isolated. When I think about that now, I know that I was referring to the feeling of depression, almost like a feeling of being ‘doomed’ and locked into myself. My motivation had dropped; I didn’t feel like I could do anything. That’s when she told me about the drop in service in Royston Library and invited me to come along and chat to the volunteers.

Although I hadn’t used the service before, it was so easy to go into it because it was in a library and a really relaxed atmosphere. It was also local which made a difference because I was sometimes feeling too tired and weak to go far. If it was anywhere else I couldn’t have got to it.

All the volunteers have been great; I feel they can relate to me. They listened and I felt reassured. I think I have benefitted from talking to the volunteers, as I know more about the services available to me such as the Calman Centre for Cancer Support Scotland. The volunteers also gave me the Macmillan Support Line number, and I have called it from time to time and they put me in touch with someone to talk to me about finances too.

The best part about the service being in a library is that it is an open door. At first I went along most weeks. I wanted to find out information as I felt that I wasn’t sure what was going on. I also wanted to speak to ordinary people with understanding. Now, I’ve completed treatment for prostate cancer and I am being monitored, but I still drop in to chat to the volunteers because it is a safe place to come and talk about what I am going through.

If someone wasn’t sure whether to use the Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries service, I would say its easy enough, just go in and someone will come over to you and say hello. The volunteers are helpful, welcoming and reassuring.”