Public Wi-Fi available in rural Denbighshire

August 21, 2014

Public Wi-Fi is now available at four sites in rural Denbighshire – Llangollen tourist information centre, Corwen library, Ruthin library and Denbigh library. This new provision has been funded by the Destination Denbighshire Rural Development Plan funded project* and allows visitors to access tourism websites to complement and aid them in their visit to rural Denbighshire; one of the websites that can be visited is the Digital Adventures website Hawys Lebbon, Tourism Project Officer said ‘this is a great tourist addition to the rural Denbighshire area allowing our visitors to interact with us digitally and allowing them to download various information onto their mobile devices’. Anyone who wishes to use the wi-fi must seek assistance from a staff member at the sites for login details in order to conform with Denbighshire’s Security Policy

*This project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

National award for Wrexham’s business information guru Gareth

August 19, 2014

Information Services Assistant Gareth Hatton who works for Wrexham County Borough Council’s Businessline service has been named Public Library Champion of the Year, a national award from the Public and Mobile Libraries Group (PMLG) of CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Gareth was presented with the award yesterday by Baroness Diana Eccles of Moulton, MP, at a special ceremony as part of CILIP’s two-day International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Satellite Conference in Birmingham.

Gareth has provided vital help and information to new and growing businesses in the local area for over ten years and was nominated in recognition of his outstanding information retrieval skills and efficiency, combined with a providing valued customer service support to his users, many of whom credit his assistance for helping their businesses to thrive and grow.

Gareth said:

“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been chosen as the winner of such a prestigious award and am overwhelmed that my work supporting local SME’s has been recognised on a national level by CILIP.”

The Public Library Awards formally recognise the individual approach and achievement of outstanding library staff employed in different capacities across the public library service, highlighting the value they bring to their employers and the difference they make to service users. Nominations are made by employers and must be endorsed by community partners, colleagues and public library service users.

Dr Darren Smart, Chair of CILIP’s Public and Mobile Library Group said:

“I am proud to announce the winners and runners up of our annual awards which recognise the outstanding contribution that paid library staff make to their customers, the communities they serve and the wider public library profession”.

Awards were also made to the winners of Public Librarian of the Year, Jacqueline Cooper, a librarian recognised as being at the heart of her community in Newbury and Mobile Library Champion of the Year Fiona Litscher, a trusted Relief Mobile Driver across Essex County Council’s 11 mobile libraries. Two Public Library Champion runners up, Kate King at HMP at Edinburgh City Libraries and Jo Norris from Essex’s Sible Hedingham Library were also commended.

Cllr Hugh Jones, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships and Collaboration, said:

“I would like to pass on my congratulations to Gareth for winning this national award. He clearly has made an outstanding contribution and the award is very well deserved.”

World War One Commemorations in Merthyr Library

August 12, 2014

Lights went out across Merthyr Tydfil on Monday night to mark the 100 years since the start of World War One.

At 11pm on August 4, 1914, Britain entered a war which would shape the world for generations.

In Merthyr, commemorations started from 4pm in Penderyn Square and Merthyr Tydfil Central Library where a variety of crafts, displays, workshops and performances from Dowlais Male Voice Choir were held.  Staff at Merthyr Library also dressed up as World War One nurses for the event (pictured).

Later on in the evening, a talk entitled Merthyr Goes To War was given by local historian Huw Williams.

This was followed by a commemorative service led by Father Mark Prevett in St David’s Church, with town mayor Brian Mansbridge among those to give a reading. Standard flag bearers from the Royal British Legion and local scouts led a procession from the church back up to the square.

At 10pm, Penderyn Square fell into darkness as all the lights were turned out. Lantern bearers and guests including Dai Havard, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, joined in paying their respects to those who did not return home as The Last Post was played from the balcony of the Redhouse.

Coun Mansbridge said: “It was an absolutely superb day. The town and the people itself were a credit to Merthyr Tydfil. We had many visitors, from overseas as well, and the comments we had were fantastic.

“The service was well attended and I can honestly say we, myself as mayor and my wife Brenda as mayoress, are very proud to represent Merthyr Tydfil and I congratulate everyone who paid their respects.”


Wrexham Library Group – Runners-up in the 2014 ReadingZone Picture Book Competition!

August 5, 2014

The Winners and Runners-UP of this year’s ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, selected from over 1,000 picture book entries, have been announced!

Judge Guy Parker-Rees has worked hard to choose the winners of this year’s competition. There was a huge range and vast quality of picture books sent by children around the country and internationally. After many hours spent looking at the work and reading some amazing stories, a shortlist was selected from which Guy Parker-Rees has chosen the following winners. All of the the winning picture books are online and ready to download: The winners of the 2014 ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, with comments from our judge Guy Parker-Rees, are as follows:

Wrexham Library Group were selected as the Runner Up in the Primary category:

Runner Up: Snowdrop Farm Wrexham Library A very interesting book that evoked the atmosphere of the trenches in a most imaginative way. Some stunning illustrations helped( like Silky under the Rainbow). I think all the different drawing styles added depth and richness to it. Well done Wrexham Library Group.”


50 years of the Public Libraries Act 1964

August 4, 2014

Guest post by Hywel James, Gwynedd taken from Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog

The chief librarians in Wales celebrated recently. What did they have to celebrate, you may ask, in the middle of planning drastic cuts in spending and closing some libraries? Well, on a break from a busy agenda with items discussing the development and improvement of services, we took the opportunity to share cake and remember fifty years since the passing of the Public Libraries Act 1964. This Act established the modern statutory library service, which it is the duty of each local authority to provide, and that gives everyone in Wales the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from its use.

As a child of the sixties I remember especially a new public library building which came in the wake of this important Act: the new concrete and glass Holyhead library. I was there at the opening, with the Secretary of State of Wales at the time, Cledwyn Hughes, opening the library in his hometown and mine. Here my life was opened to the treasures of literature of a high standard – the pleasure of following the story of Tolkien’s Hobbit and excitement of reading T. Llew Jones novels – and getting valuable help with my homework whilst at school and college – my debt to that library is great.

As it was in the period of a Labour government that this first golden age of public libraries took place, it was necessary to remind myself that the 1964 Act was the product of a Conservative government. After years of debate mainly during the years of Harold Macmillan’s leadership, the Act was passed. It is no coincidence I suspect that Macmillan himself was an enthusiastic reader – his favourite author was Jane Austen by the way – and of course he was the heir to a company of Scottish descent that became one of the world’s major publishers. It is strange to think in the present climate that we owe a debt to the Tory party for the Act to establish the ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library services!

While visiting the new libraries at Prestatyn and Caerphilly recently I was struck by the same excitement I felt as a child in Holyhead, to see new multi-purpose libraries attracting a host of new users. The lean period is ahead of us but we have survived bleak decades. Our strength as a public service is that review after review, case study after case study and our everyday experience shows the great value of libraries to people’s lives. This solid evidence will ensure future Welsh public libraries continue to serve, with free access for all, for the next fifty years.