Walsall libraries stock up with Polish books

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What is happening?

Books in Polish, Czech and Russian have been ordered by libraries in Walsall to cope with the influx of foreign nationals into the borough.

Workers from the Eastern European states can now read a selection of books in their native language after several requests to the borough council.

The weekly Polish newspaper Polityka is also available in libraries, along with children’s books. They are the latest in a long line of services throughout Walsall which have changed in order to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse community.

Already in Walsall, translation services based at Innovation Works at Rubery Owen in Darlaston, have added Polish speakers to their books while courses in Polish have also sprung up, run by Manor Farm Community Association.

Extending existing services

Elsewhere, the popular Meals on Wheels service, now run by Sodexho, has introduced some Polish dishes to its menus.

Gap Personnel has added Polish-speaking staff at both its Walsall branches while supermarkets have added aisles of eastern European food to their stock.

Churches across the borough have also reported growing congregation numbers thanks to the number of people moving into the area from Eastern Europe.

A campaign was launched last month to provide reading material for the influx of new residents.

Councillor Louise Harrison, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said it also meant residents from the three countries now had a greater opportunity to join in with current celebrations for the 2008 National Year of Reading.

“Reading is a great way for families to spend time together and this move to increase the collections of books in additional languages really shows we are determined to provide services for all our residents,” she said.

“Reading can help young people to improve the literacy skills they will need to develop through life and older people to improve their lives and keep fit and mentally active.

“We want to ensure that this national campaign is a great success in Walsall and that it provides us with a platform which we can build on in future years.”

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