Bute Books Volunteer Group relaunches for 2023

16th June 2023

Bute Books Volunteer Group relaunches for 2023

Mount Stuart Trust is delighted to welcome the Bute Books Volunteer Group back to the libraries of the Bute Collection at Mount Stuart as part of the Sawa Project in 2023.

Following one year of the Bute Books Volunteer Group, the Group relaunched for year two of the programme in June 2023 in the Red Library.

The Bute Books Volunteer Group is one of several practical volunteering opportunities offered by the Mount Stuart Trust in collaboration with Argyll & Bute Council and LiveArgyll as part of the Sawa Project.

The Sawa Project is funded through the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery programme, which aims to create scope for positive community links and to improve on language learned in the classroom for New Scots.

“Sawa” means “together” in Syrian Arabic, and the Project has been designed to enable New Scots to develop their language skills learned through ESOL, encourage language learners to engage with islanders, and to use their new language skills to work in partnership and share experiences together.

Commencing in June 2022, the Bute Books Group sessions have focused on the preventative conservation of the books in the Bute Collection, aiming to keep the books in good physical condition and to minimise any potential future deterioration or loss.

Keeping items in historic houses clean and in good order is essential to ensure their long-term preservation, and Bute Books volunteers learn in pairs how to dry clean, condition check and list books during the weekly Bute Books Group sessions.

The meetings give volunteers an opportunity to meet other islanders, use their new language skills, and explore the Bute Collection's fascinating books together.

Volunteers have the chance to get hands-on cleaning rare and historic books using special museum vacuum cleaners and soft brushes, as well as discover an array of books in the Red Library.

Over the past year, volunteers have cleaned and delved into epic travelogues with intricate folding maps, delicate botanical books, and even volumes on witchcraft.

The Sawa project runs from November 2021 to Autumn 2023 and is funded through the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery programme.