Wokingham Borough Council’s new library at the Carnival Hub, continues to show its credentials as one of the most inclusive libraries in the area with the creation of a new guide designed to make the library accessible for those with additional needs.
The guide was produced with CLASP, Wokingham’s Caring, Listening and Supporting Partnership, a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities in the borough. Members of CLASP visited the library before it opened to the public in September, and took photos of the space for the guide, along with helping to create a floorplan showing users where different things are located within the library.
Using equality data to help shape the design
In addition to talking with CLASP during the design process, the library service also used a range of equality data captured from new memberships since March 2020 to help shape the designs. This led to improvements such as better physical access to book stock, facilities for neuro divergent library users, and colour palettes sensitive to the neuro-divergent and people with Alzheimers. The new space is also all on one floor to make it easier for those with mobility issues to navigate and includes improved disabled toilet facilities, including a changing places facility in the wider Hub.
Cllr Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, said: “Libraries are increasingly important for our local communities. Not just as places to access traditional services such as free books and computers, but also as places to gather and to socialise, or join in with some of the great activities on offer.
“Given this, it was incredibly important to us that we could make the library more accessible to all our users. Being able to work with advocacy groups like CLASP has been a fantastic opportunity. We’re so pleased with how this new guide has turned out we’re also using it as a template for creating accessible guides to other libraries in the borough.
“The new library looks fantastic and, in addition to providing a great space for regular library users, we’re hoping it will also attract a completely new audience from those using the wider Hub. People who may be less familiar with the wide range of services our libraries offer and now can find out more.”
What's on offer at the new Wokingham Library
Facilities available in the new Wokingham Library at the Carnival Hub include:
- Reception desk with library staff giving help and support
- Automated check in / check out machines and space to drop off books
- Browsing areas for books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, CD’s and DVDs
- Breakout areas with soft seating where people can relax and read
- Children’s zone with fun seating and space for activities
- Teen area with seating and resources
- A range of study options from larger tables for group study to smaller tables and individual booths for increased privacy
- Computers with free access to the internet
- Two meeting rooms which can be combined into one larger room
- Exhibition area for displays and information
Users of the library will also be able to access the café in the foyer area which is shared with the wider Hub and Wokingham Leisure Centre which opened in July this year.
Plentiful blue badge parking is available immediately to the rear of the Hub or in the nearby Carnival multi-storey car park. Blue badge holders may park for free in either location. Standard parking charges apply for all non-blue badge holders parking in the Carnival multi-storey car park.
Wokingham Library at the Carnival Hub is open Monday and Tuesdays 9.30am to 5pm, Wednesday 9.30am to 4pm, Thursdays 9.30am to 7pm, Fridays 9.30am to 5pm and Saturdays 9.30am to 4pm. The library remains closed on a Sunday, although opening hours are being kept under review to assess whether moving to the Hub has an impact on visitor patterns to the new space.
Help us shape our library services
There is still time to help shape the future of our library service by taking part in our consultation which runs until Tuesday 6 December.
Find out more about how you can get involved.
More from Wokingham Borough Council
Stay connected to the communities around you. Enjoy the latest news, updates and highlights straight in your inbox. Subscribe to our Wokingham Borough Connect newsletters now.