Major investment in libraries delivered successfully
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.
Cllr 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.
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.
Cllr 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.”