Libraries We Love: Stoke on Trent Library
Stoke Reads, coordinated by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries and Archives, proves that a library service is far more than just a collection of books in a collection of bricks.
In March 2010 the library gathered together eager volunteers from different walks of life – from retired teachers, to mental health professionals and service users, to mentors for young people, to a Health Coach at Stoke City football club! They were all trained by us to become shared reading facilitators, and after that the volunteers have established groups throughout the city – in Longton Library, Stoke Library in two mental health settings, a day care centre, and the stroke unit of Haywood Hospital – all coordinated by the library service.
The group in Longton Library is going strong, and comments from the readers include:
‘It’s the only thing I do for me and I really love it.’
‘I’d never have thought I’d have had the confidence to read aloud’.
‘Coming here has changed my life.’
Principal Librarian Anne Mackey describes Stoke Reads as ‘small but perfect’ and has just secured NHS funding to expand the project by training more volunteers to run more groups.
‘Stoke-on-Trent Libraries has successfully extended its reader development services through
this project. It’s been a real investment in library staff and volunteers, and we’re continuing to build a
culture of shared reading throughout the city.’