Cambridgeshire County Council has announced that Amazon has donated devices and books to help boost community libraries and give people across the county more access to library services as part of its wider "Amazon in the Community" investment programme.
Amazon has already donated 50 Fire tablets to the County Council's volunteer-led "˜Library at Home' service, which supports housebound and vulnerable people across the county. The tablet donation gives people access to digital skills tutorials and books that would otherwise be out of reach.
Amazon will also support improvements to Cambridgeshire's much-loved mobile libraries, with the company donating almost 800 non-fiction books for all four vehicles. The mobile libraries reach over 250 local communities and will be complemented by the installation of Amazon donated solar panels to increase the service's energy efficiency. Amazon has a Development Centre in Cambridge working on a range of projects including Prime Air, a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones.
Made possible by donations from Amazon, Cambridgeshire Libraries is also developing six new roving book collections, which will tour smaller, community-focused libraries. These collections will be aimed at young people and themed around science, technology and coding to encourage users of the service to expand their horizons and develop new skills.
Amazon's work with Cambridgeshire Libraries forms part of the company's "Amazon in the Community" programme, where the company supports initiatives to create a positive learning environment for young people, build skills and create employment opportunities in and around the communities where it operates and more broadly across the UK.
Cllr Mac McGuire, Cambridgeshire County Council, Chairman of Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee said: "We'd like to thank Amazon for their generous support. This partnership comes at a time when a recent Member led Review Group for income generation, highlighted the need for us to seek sponsorship for library services. We look forward to working with our new supporters, for the benefit of our local libraries and the communities they serve. The Fire tablets will help some of our most vulnerable customers get online and take advantage of the libraries' book and audio book offers, and the financial contribution to the non-fiction books comes at a good time to encourage people in their interests and studies."
Lauren Kisser, Operations Director at Amazon Prime Air, commented: "We welcome the opportunity to be able to support improved literacy across Cambridgeshire and support the work of Cambridgeshire Libraries. We have a long heritage in both literacy and innovation and are pleased to be able to donate devices and books to making reading more accessible for people across the county."