A new library service has opened at the Trust’s medium secure unit, Newton Lodge.
Previously, service users at Newton Lodge only had access to a limited amount of books which were located on a corridor within the unit.
Now, as part of the £15 million pound redevelopment of the Trust’s forensic services, a purpose-built library room has been opened to offer a wide range of books, magazines and newspapers and a quiet area with a range of comfortable seating options to service users.
Opening times for the library are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1pm – 1:45pm, however, staff have access to the keys at all times to enable them to take service users off their wards and into the relaxing setting of the library.
Janet Hunt, adult education tutor at Newton Lodge, said: “As we have quite a small education department at Newton Lodge, it’s hard to see everyone as often as we would like, so we wanted to create a facility to help people learn in an independent setting.”
Service users at Newton Lodge are able to select their own books and ‘borrow’ them from the library to read at their own leisure.
Lizzy Osborne, occupational therapist at Newton Lodge, said: “The library is going to be such a good resource for our service users; it brings a great sense of community to Newton Lodge. We can assess people’s progress by working with them one-to-one or within group activities in the quiet environment.”
The library contains books from a range of genres, including ‘quick reads’ which are specially written to have a readability level suitable for people with learning disabilities or for those who would find a full book daunting. Service users can also flick through a number of magazines – the titles of which they chose – including Top Gear, Men’s Health and Elle.
Janet continued: “The library provides some great benefits to service users – there is a lot of educational and therapeutic crossover. The very act of reading can help to reduce anxiety, and it helps to improve their confidence as they can take on the responsibility of choosing and looking after a book. Visiting a library is also something they would do outside of Newton Lodge so it helps them to maintain life skills.”
A service user at Newton Lodge said: “I like the new library. It’s much better than the corridor – there’s more room and more books.”
Each ward at Newton Lodge has also been provided with a Wakefield library card which allows them to access Wakefield libraries’ online collection. The collection holds a number of online resources including driving theory tests, encyclopaedias, language courses and recommendations of other authors people may enjoy if they have read a certain book.
Keen readers have been encouraged to take part in the Reading Agency’s ‘Six Book Challenge’ using books from the new library. For the challenge, people are tasked with reading six books of their choosing and writing a short paragraph on how they felt about each one. Service users are also able to rate the books out of five stars.
Once people have completed the challenge, they are rewarded with a certificate signed by bestselling crime author Martina Cole.
To find out more about the redevelopment of Newton Lodge, visit the Trust’s website.