Major investment in libraries delivered successfully

Cllr Pickering opens Kingston Library
Mayor Julie Pickering cuts a ribon to mark the re-opening of the Kingston library helped by two young library visitors

Kingston's Conservative administration is celebrating the completion of a transformational £500,000 investment in libraries, a scheme that was opposed by the Liberal Democrats.

The half-million pound investment has seen state-of-the-art self service machines replace the traditional front desk in the new look libraries, offering more space and flexibility. The move has also freed up library staff to focus on promoting reading, learning and discovery, as well as providing information, and supporting customers to access the library’s digital resources.

Kingston’s libraries are bucking the national trend, with increasing numbers of people visiting the libraries as well as carrying out transactions online. Since reopening, the libraries have seen a 6% rise in visitors to libraries across the borough. Following the introduction of self service machines, transactions are averaging 88% across the seven libraries.

KMV PickeringCllr Julie Pickering, Mayor of Kingston, said: 

 The first word I said when I walked into my local library was ‘wow’. A truly staggering change and one that has respected and kept the historical elements of the buildings whilst modernising the facilities, which is absolutely how it should be.
Summer reading challenge 2017
St Joseph's kids kick off the Summer Reading Challenge

Kingston Library itself has undergone the biggest transformation, with the children’s library being incorporated within the main building.

It was here that children from St Joseph’s Primary School were captivated by storytelling at the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge. Professional storyteller John Kirk brought to life The 100 Mile an Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong, tying in with the theme for the challenge this year being Animal Agents.

KSB JohnsonCllr Andy Johnson-Creek, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries at Kingston Council, said:

 It’s hugely important that we promote libraries as spaces that are for far more than books, they’re hubs of community activity and the heartbeat of our towns. We need to make sure our borough’s next generation have opportunities to continue to enjoy learning and discovery through reading during the summer holidays. We’ll continue to promote this brilliant scheme to kids in Kingston.”
The Summer Reading Challenge runs nationally from July and until September. Children aged 4 to 11 years old are challenged to read or listen to six library books. There is also a mini challenge for children aged up to 3 years old. Small rewards are collected along the way. Over 4,500 children in Kingston took part in the challenge last year.

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