Maidstone prison library awarded silver for reading challenge

The library at Maidstone prison has been awarded silver for a challenge to get offenders reading.

Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives provides a library service in all five prisons in the county.

HMP Maidstone, on County Road in the town, is designated as a Foreign National prison and houses around 600 offenders, many of whom have English as a second language.

This year they won a silver award in the Reading Agency’s Reading Ahead Challenge.

Shirley Sheridan, Libraries Area Manager, Victoria Barnett, Prison Library Development Manager, Liz Gibson, Prison Library Assistant, James Pearson, Head of Library Service.

Offenders were challenged to read six books and to record their reading experiences in a diary.

Reading Ahead aims to change people’s perception of reading, opening up opportunities and building their confidence.

Prison Library Development Manager, Victoria Barnett, said: “This is a great achievement for HMP Maidstone because it is a relatively small prison, and many of the offenders have low levels of literacy – despite this nearly 20% of the population completed the challenge.

“This is largely due to the hard work of our prison library staff, Ruth Bateup and Liz Gibson, who encourage and inspire readers every day and always work hard to ensure that all their customers are receiving an excellent library service.”

Learning Skills and Employment Manager, Mark Long, said: “Achieving this award highlights the positive impact collaboration and partnership working can have to make a difference.

“The engagement from the learners to explore new opportunities through reading, demonstrates the positive impact it can have on their lives, and the changes they experience enhance the rehabilitative culture and work taking place within the establishment ”.

Maidstone prison library awarded silver for reading challenge was last modified: November 22nd, 2017 by Ellis Stephenson