As well as a regular timetable of visits to the library to exchange books and DVDs, offenders are now being offered a range of activities. Evening sessions held fortnightly give offenders an opportunity to take time to browse reading material, sit and read quietly or take part in organised activities. A lunchtime book club for protected prisoners has been a great success fostering positive behaviour and a sense of inclusion and ownership. There have been 3 author visits in the last 6 months with 2 more planned between March and July. These have been extremely well received and have been a catalyst for increased interest in cultural activity. 20 offenders are currently undertaking the Six Book challenge with reported improvement of reading and literacy goals. Regular user group meetings have proved useful in shaping the service as well as giving offenders an opportunity to be part of a decision making forum. There has been a noticeable development of social skills in those participating in this group.
In partnership with the Scottish Prison Service, Fife College and Action for Children, the library staff have been able to contribute to education programmes, employability meetings and a homework club run in the adjacent Family Centre & Help Hub for children who are attending visits. The national initiative of Read, Write, Count is also being used to encourage and enhance literacy amongst parents. The Librarian is a regular contributor on the prison radio station and is able to promote the service and activities on offer.
Liberation cards allow the seamless transition from the use of HMP Grampian Library to the use of their local library. By fostering an early positive association with the library at HMP Grampian, prisoners have been encouraged to make use of their local library on liberation. Aberdeenshire is currently working with colleagues in surrounding authorities to ensure that liberation cards and welcome packs are available for use wherever the prisoners normal place of residence is.