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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

11 Oct 2017

Partners at Palmer Park Library

Today was the launch of the Palmer Park Library partnership where students from Reading College will work alongside library staff.  The partnership will offer students with learning difficulties the chance to gain work experience and life skills. 

I chatted with some of the students and it was clear they were enjoying their time at the library.  I was told how they had learned to use the till, check for book requests and could prepare books to be transferred to other libraries.

Their teachers told me how the work experience had help improve the students maths and literacy skills as they were using them in real-life scenarios.  Students will be working in the library for up to years allowing them to consolidate their skills, something short placements usually cannot do.

I used by mayoral cake cutting skills once again and formally launched the partnership alongside faculty manager Scott Reilly. I look forward to seeing how the students develop during their placements and have promised to pop in a couple of times to say hello.

This partnership has also allowed us to protect the library service at Palmer Park in the face of huge cuts to the council's budget by the Conservative government.  Despite huge budget pressures I am determined to protect these vital community services. 

Notes on service changes from the Reading Borough Council press release:

"The review of library services is just one of many areas where the Council has had to identify savings in the face of severe and unprecedented Government cuts in funding and increased demands on Council services. In July 2016, Policy Committee endorsed a new library service offer to deliver a £290,000 saving and to modernise the service.  Changes included new ways of working in partnership, reduced opening times reflecting customer preference and usage patterns; better use of buildings and co-locating services; making the best use of technology and saving money through re-negotiating with stockists.

Customers can now access a new catalogue website, designed with enhanced functions and a modern, user-friendly look and feel. New self-service kiosks have been introduced across all Reading libraries; offering a quick and efficient way of issuing, returning and paying for items.

Since the beginning of April, there have been new opening times across all libraries. To view the revised times, visit here: www.reading.gov.uk/librarybranches

In Spring 2018, Whitley library will relocate to a new home at South Reading Youth and Community Centre and in Summer 2018 Southcote library will relocate to a new home at Southcote Community Centre.

The full report to Policy can be viewed here:

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