Potter fans take over Torfaen libraries on national book night

February 10, 2016

WIZARDS and witches turned out in force to take part in Torfaen libraries’ second celebration of the national Harry Potter Book Night.

At libraries in Blaenavon and Cwmbran, children dressed up in all manner of magical beings before the Sorting Hat put the attendees into their houses for the evening.

The children created their own wands, participated in a hunt for magical items and created their own mythical monsters and creatures, on Thursday.

Bettina Robinson, senior library assistant, said: “Harry Potter Book Night is now in its second year and it is always a delight to see children so enthused and excited about books and reading.

“This is the first event we have held Blaenavon Library’s new home at the World Heritage Centre, and we couldn’t have had a better location.

In keeping with the fun activities, the libraries were transformed into Torfaen’s very own Hogwarts, and the children discussed their favourite parts from the stories by author JK Rowling.

“The building is itself an old school and with an old fashioned school room, was a perfect stand in for Hogwarts,” she added.

“Both events were a great success, and a great opportunity for children to take part in this national event.”


Scorch is hiding in your local library!

February 8, 2016

A competition for children aged 12 and under will be taking place in libraries across Wales with some fantastic WRU prizes up for grabs!

The competition aims to encourage children to discover what they can find in their local library and will take place in libraries across Wales between the 7th February and the 19th March 2016 to coincide with the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Children will have to discover where Scorch, the WRU mascot, is hiding in their local library and fill in a short form to enter the competition. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs including Wales Rugby Union shirts, WRU wallets, pin badges and activity packs.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said: “This is a creative idea offering young people across Wales the chance to embrace this year’s Six Nations tournament while also making the most of their local library facilities. 2016 marks the Year of Adventure in Wales so I would definitely encourage everyone to get involved with this adventure competition. While searching for Scorch why not also use this opportunity to discover your next favourite book or author.”

To find out more about the competition and to view the terms and conditions please visit:


February 5, 2016

Hundreds of events will take place across the country to celebrate National Libraries Day on Saturday 6 February 2016.

Now in its fifth year, this national celebration of libraries and library staff will round off a week’s worth of events and activities in public, school, college, university, and workplace libraries highlighting their work promoting learning, literacy and the enjoyment of reading to all.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said:

“Libraries make a real difference to the lives of people from all backgrounds right across Wales. National Libraries Day is a great opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the excellent free services libraries provide, from a range of books, to digital services and training, that inspire people of all ages to develop and enhance their skills.

“In Wales we are ahead of the game in terms of modernising our libraries and co-locating services. We continue to invest in the public library service here as we firmly believe it is essential for improving literacy and tackling poverty. If you have not been to a library for a while, I encourage you to see how they have changed and the wide range of services now available.”

On Saturday 6 February library users new and old are being encouraged to go along to their local library and find out about the great services on offer – from book loans and homework clubs to advice on starting a business or how to get online. Even if people can’t make it to their library, they can still get access to a range of services through library websites, including downloading free e-books and e-audio books or browsing the fantastic collection of over 200 free e-zines.

Last year libraries in Wales conducted a survey of library users asking them why they love their library – over 100 responses were received including:

I go every couple of weeks with my little boy to change his library books. Signing him up as a member of the library was one of the first things I did with him after he was born. In the first few days of my maternity leave, after my husband had gone back to work and I was feeling a bit lost, I headed out to the library because I needed to get out of the house and it just seemed like a nice place to take my boy. A member of staff saw me looking lost in the children’s section and came over to chat. She encouraged me to come to rhyme time, and it became our regular outing for the 9 months I was off work. Through going to library story times, my little boy started going to other groups like TWF and LAP, and has taken part in activities like the summer reading challenge. And he really likes books!!!”

“Every book is an adventure – whether it’s a detective novel, a romance or indeed a new cookbook. I love that my visits take me to places I’ve never been but also give me an opportunity to learn more about where I live. And it really helps that the staff are all so friendly and helpful. I’ve been made to feel so welcome since I joined that it’s one of my favorite places!!”

A larger selection of the responses can be viewed here

For more details about what’s happening at a library near you visit

Kids Take Over the Library and Family Information Services

January 28, 2016

Ever wanted to see what it would be like to work in your local library or family information service? Here’s your chance. Museums, galleries, arts organisations , archives and heritage sites across the UK are gearing up to invite children and young people to take over for the day – so how can Wrexham children get involved.

Wrexham Library and Wrexham Family Information Service would like children from year 6, 7 and or 8 (aged 10, 11 & or 12) to applyby letter for the following positions: Caretaker, Reference Librarian, Library Assistant x 2, Early Years Librarian, Businessline Librarian, Information Assistant.

Please state in your letter which position you are interested in and why. Please send your letter to Mrs Shan Cooper at Wrexham Library, Rhosddu Road, Wrexham. LL11 1AU. The closing date to submit your letter is 1 February 2016.

For further information please contact Wrexham Library on 01978 292090 or e-mail

If you are interested in the Information Assistant position, please send your letter to Alma Belles at Family Information Service, Wrexham Library, Rhosddu Road, Wrexham. LL11 1AU. For further information about the Information Assistant please telephone 01978 292094 or


How would you like to save £1000 this year?

January 18, 2016

Joining your library and accessing the amazing free services they have on offer could save you hundreds of pounds a year!

Over 83,000 e-books were downloaded for free from Welsh Libraries last year.  There were over 155,000 downloads of e-zines in 2015 saving the people of Wales approximately £310,000.

The people below are all regular library users from across South Wales and are keen to share their stories and encourage more people to join the library:

Mary Neck – Aberdare Library

Mary Neck, aged 67, lives in Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf. She has been a member of the library service for many years, nearly all her life in fact. In 2014 alone she borrowed 61 books – saving £970 – goodness knows how much she has saved over the years!

“As I am a pensioner I could not afford to buy these books through the year. Therefore I appreciate the library and the staff who are very friendly and helpful and it also gives me a chance to meet other people.”

Mary has even learnt how to use computers at her local branch and now regularly sends email, shops online, and Skypes her grand-daughter in Kent. All thanks to the support and help of her local library.

“I really enjoyed learning how to use the computer and becoming a silver surfer!  It also means I am now able to chat to my grand-daughter over the internet, its marvellous stuff!”


George Beale – Abergavenny Library

George Beale from Abergavenny uses his library almost every day for a variety of things, especially:

  • Reading local and national newspapers and magazines
  • Research using the internet and reference library
  • Sending and receiving e-mails
  • Book borrowing
  • Social Inclusion
  • George estimates that the national newspapers alone would cost around £780 per annum and the additional local papers bring this up to over £900

He also uses the internet for family history research and other research to use this at home would probably incur a capital cost of at least £250 plus a £10 per month broadband subscription and the annual costs of two ancestry type websites which is about £200 per year.

George is also keen to point out the additional benefits of being in a warm, welcoming environment and meeting lots of different people which are incalculable.


Graham Anderson

“I have been visiting Rhydypennau library for around 6 years with our daughter, Gigi who is now 11 years old. Our trips to the library started with me reading her stories, borrowing numerous books on a weekly basis, listening to story time and generally having a great time. As she grew and started to read, even more books were taken home. I cannot imagine the cost if I would have had to buy these books and it would never have been much fun without going to the library.

“Gigi’s brother, Steen, has been a library member ever since he was able. Just like Gigi, we read at the library, took volumes of books home, Julia Donaldson,  picture books, Thomas The Tank, early reading etc. Joined the reading club with Clare and read with the PCSO Joe, this would never have happened without the library. The Summer Challenge, wow reading books AND get stickers!! What a bonus!

“I have saved many hundreds of pounds by using the facilities of the library, buying many withdrawn books for private use and to take to the school library. But the friends made at the library and the fun we have had and are still having is priceless! “

The librarian has worked out that Graham’s total savings for events, books and loans in 2014 was probably around £500.


Jeff Parsons

Jeff is a 52 year old maintenance craftsman from Cardiff.

“I can only roughly guess as to how much I’ve saved over the years, it’s easily hundreds of pounds quite likely thousands (over my whole membership period) more than that it’s just the scope and diversity that I have access to that has been such a constant.

“I have a passion for music and like to travel, I’m married and have no children I live 10mins from the library so it’s ideal for me. I realised a long time ago I’ve learnt more from the library than I did at school!

“I honestly think the person selecting the music must read the same magazines as me and has a real passion for it too…it’s been like a domino effect really, listening to artists that I might not ordinarily have thought about. I attempt to play guitar and piano, again I’ve borrowed tutorial DVD’s to help my understanding of chord structure, inversions etc….

“I borrow from the library virtually every week unless we are on holiday! The service provided and the staff are second to none……..I do appreciate it.”

Jeff’s local library has worked out that his average saving based on the 149 items (films, books, music) that he borrowed in 2014 is in the region of £1170

Jeff commented: “Well I’m amazed at the amount I’ve saved, I knew it would be good but to think of that amount in one year! I can’t begin to imagine how much I’ve saved during my entire membership.”



Rick Eaglestone

Rick Eaglestone 37, lives in Fairwater and has been a member of the library service since the age of five. “I read over 60 books a year and the library service has saved me a fortune as most of the books I get from the library are new release titles. I also use the library because I find the staff have wonderful local knowledge and I am also a member of the library book club.”

If Rick had bought all 60 new release titles that he read last year – this would have cost him at least £1000.


Miranda Millett

Miranda is aged 30 and is a midwife – she lives in Cyncoed with her family.

“My partner and I both work at the University Hospital of Wales and so my mum often cares for our young child whilst we are at work.   My mum and I frequently take my daughter to Rhydypennau Library.   The setting is lovely for children of all ages and is perfect for under-fives who are just finding their feet in the outside world.  There is a huge range of books (with or without CDs), drawing materials, comfy furnishings and of course many other parent-carers and children just browsing or attending the special story sessions.

“My young daughter has greatly benefitted from the friendly & calm atmosphere and avidly collects her stickers and certificates to show her involvement.  This Children’s Library provides a perfect start to the world of education for my young child and is a very valuable resource for families and the local community. “’

Miranda and her family have saved hundreds of pounds by borrowing books and other resources, taking part in rhyme times and craft activities but as she says it’s not just about how much you save, it’s also about how much you gain.


In addition, libraries are free to join – so no upfront costs either!  To find out more please call in to your local library or visit


Roha Rafiei

Roha is only six years old and loves her library so much that she was driven to write to her local council (see image) in a bid to save it from closure.

During 2014, Roha borrowed 231 books, assuming that the retail price for these books averages out at £5.00 per book, then she has saved over £1100.00!