A new community library scheme, initiated by members of the ABLE Read and Connect group, has been launched in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Read and Connect group based at ABLE, in Duke Street, Heron Cross, wanted a space to keep donations of books for the group and the idea expanded into starting a library. Stoke-on-Trent City libraries have donated 200 books from their stock to kick start the scheme and it’s hoped the library will expand to welcome members of staff who work for ABLE and Duke Street Day Services.

The library was opened by group members and Councillor Anthony Munday, cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure. “The ABLE Library is another fantastic facility for service users to benefit from,” said Cllr Munday. “The Read and Connect group who came up with the library are a truly wonderful, enthusiastic group of people. I look forward to seeing the library grow and develop more in the future.”

The ABLE Project works with those who have a learning disability to offer them a space to socialise and to promote the importance of looking after your health and wellbeing and personal safety. They currently offer drop-in sessions on Monday afternoons, which include a Read and Connect group in which participants come together to discuss a book they have been reading. They also run courses and other opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.

Read and Connect group member, Darren Roberts said: “I was one of the first members to take part in the reading group back in 2014. It’s very good we now have our own library and will be running it ourselves. I’m looking forward to using it.”

Daniel Murphy, a Read and Connect group member, said: “We can read lots of different books now we have our own library. ABLE is a very nice place to come to and I’ve made lots of new friends here. We always welcome new people too.”

Library Services Manager, Vicky Barnsley said: “Stoke-on-Trent City libraries provide a community book collection service in which books are given out to groups and swapped over after a six week period. We’ll be continuing to work with ABLE to make sure we can tailor book choices to the needs of the group.”


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