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West Berkshire Libraries News

To All West Berkshire Libraries Customers

Welcome to our June news!

National award for Newbury Library

June Newsletter 001

We are delighted to tell you that Newbury Library, the central library in West Berkshire, has been awarded Library of Sanctuary status in recognition of its work in welcoming and supporting refugees and others seeking sanctuary.

The Award, given by City of Sanctuary UK, recognises the important role that public libraries play in welcoming refugees and people seeking sanctuary in our communities, and celebrates the libraries that go above and beyond to show solidarity, welcome and compassion for people from a forced displacement background.

Newbury Library's application for this award included details of the work that has been done with local organisation Educafe, working in partnership with local service providers to embrace different cultures and promote social inclusion, health and wellbeing through events, food, education and language support.

Janine Lewis, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside, said: "It's such a brilliant accolade for Newbury Library to be recognised in this way. For many, libraries have always been safe spaces and for Newbury Library to be officially noted as a place of sanctuary is wholly deserved.

June Newsletter 002

As the cost of living increases, we know that many people are looking for ways to save money. But this doesn't mean you have to miss out on listening to audiobooks.

We have thousands of e-audiobooks from our suppliers BorrowBox and Libby which you can borrow for FREE with your West Berkshire Libraries card. (If you are not already a library member, you can join for free too.)

Download the West Berkshire Libraries app to see what's available or visit our website:


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Our collection of online reference materials continues to grow, with the addition of the popular database Find My Past to our e-resources for family and local history research.

Find My Past is an archive of over 10 billion searchable records, such as birth, marriage, death and parish records and census information including the 1921 Census of England and Wales. This resource is now free to access from any computer or mobile device within West Berkshire libraries.

West Berkshire Libraries e-resources

West Berkshire Council has begun a search to find the best poets across the district and will display some of their poems in libraries, leisure centres, council offices and other venues later in the year.

Whether you are a seasoned poet or this will be your first poem, it's time to get creative! Poets of all ages are encouraged to get involved.

What's in it for you? Being creative and writing poetry improves your mood, helps you get 'in the zone' or lose track of time, could improve your social life, boosts your self-esteem and confidence and improves brain function. To get started, chose and write a poem on any of the following topics: social isolation and loneliness; finding refuge; exploring anxious feelings; or mental health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in taking part please email your poems to The deadline for this is 31 August 2023.

Additional events in June

In addition to our regular activities, there are a number of extra events taking place in libraries this month.

A reminder that our sale of withdrawn stock at Burghfield Common Library continues until Saturday 3 June. Hurry to pick up a bargain while stocks last!

Our next Storytime will be on our YouTube channel from Monday 5 June. Young children are sure to enjoy listening to Rosie reading Stuck by award-winning author Oliver Jeffers, which tells the delightful story of a young boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree.

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HiVis fortnight runs from 1 to 14 June and celebrates the services that are available in public libraries for people with vision impairment.

In addition to our audiobooks and e-audiobooks, you will find a selection of titles in large print formats in all West Berkshire libraries. Our e-books, e-newspapers and e-magazines all allow you to change fonts and text sizes to suit your own needs. Please ask staff for assistance if you would like any help with using these features.

Our VIPs Book Group for visually impaired library members meets monthly at Newbury Library. Please ask in the library for details.

Ukrainian artist Nadia Sadoviak will be at Newbury Library on Wednesday 14 June, 4pm to 4.45pm. Nadia will be talking about her new book, which aims to help Ukrainian children cope with the impact of war through her poems which feature a heroic 'Brave Goose' in a number of roles. Everyone is welcome to come and join us. 

Specialist sleep consultant Jo Tamcken returns to Theale Library on Friday 30 June, 11am to 11.30am, with more tips for parents to help your baby sleep well. This event is free but advance booking is essential. For more information and to book, please contact Theale Library.

Get ready to read!

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It's not long now until our exciting Summer Reading Challenge for 4-11-year-olds begins on 1 July!

This year's Challenge has a sports theme. Look out for Challenge invitations being sent to children in primary schools across the district over the coming weeks and find out more in our newsletter next month.

We are currently looking for volunteers to assist with the Summer Reading Challenge during the school summer holidays. If you can spare some time to help, please ring 01635 519533 or apply online at

You can keep up with the latest news about everything that's happening in our libraries by following @WBerksLibraries on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook users can also see what's coming up by going to our Events listing. Additionally, to find out what's happening near you, check with your local library or search the West Berkshire Directory.

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