A new partnership between Reading Library Service and Reading College has been officially launched at a celebratory event at Palmer Park Library.
The Palmer Park Library partnership is an innovative new scheme to provide work experience for Reading College students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. It will also strengthen the links between the college and the local community, helping to keep this vital service open.
The event started with a special Rhyme Time session for toddlers, assisted by Hannah and Anita, two childcare students from the college.
Scott Reilly, Faculty Manager for Lifeskills and Cllr Sarah Hacker both said a few words about the partnership before cutting a cake.
Peter, one of the students involved said:
"I like serving the customers, scanning books and returning them. Last year I did ACE at Work and I worked in The Shop at the college. Doing this work experience is helping me improve my confidence."
Michelle Parks, Director of the Lifeskills Faculty said:
"At the very heart of our SEN Supported Foundation programmes is vocational learning. Innovative partnerships like the one with the library are vital for students to learn real skills in a real life context.
"We were delighted to be able to partner with the library services team to keep Palmer Park library open as we recognise how valuable the library is for our local community.
"This project is just one of our supported internship schemes and we are always looking to develop more with local employers."
Councillor Sarah Hacker, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said:
"It's great that we have been able to protect library services in the face of unprecedented government cuts with the implementation of this new partnership with Reading College. The partnership offers some new invaluable work-based opportunities for young people in the town, and is a real benefit to our local community."
During term time, Reading College will provide a tutor to support students to provide the library service.
The Council will also employ a member of staff throughout the year to work along-side the tutor, supporting the students on placement, and to ensure the smooth running of the library.
For more pictures from the event please see our Facebook page.