Launching a new look Children’s Mobile Library Service in Gwynedd

November 27, 2014

Gwynedd Library Service has recently invested in a new mobile library for children – Lori Ni – visiting schools twice a year as a mobile library service to all Gwynedd primary age school children and which also doubles up as an Information Point for Young People visiting secondary schools with a Children and Families Service during school holidays.

Nia Gruffydd, User Services Manager said “We asked Point 8, who have worked on refurbishing many of our libraries in the past, to design the interior of the mobile.  This was their first such commission but they rose to the challenge! The look we wanted was for the interior to feel like a library, with spaces to sit and to display books. A dual purpose vehicle was needed, so panels can be installed quickly and cover the book shelves to transform it into information point with a display screen and internet access.”

The mobile was commissioned from Torton Bodies, and the livery designed by Sion Morris of Cinnamon Design. The overall look is vibrant and fresh, and the new design has been warmly welcomed by children who helped approve the livery chosen.

Hywel James, Gwynedd’s Principal Librarian commented:

“We’re delighted that this investment to renovate the Lori Ni will enable Gwynedd’s Library Service to respond to all the reading and information needs of children and families in rural areas. This vehicle has been specially designed inside to offer the same service children are used to receiving at their local library, with improved facilities, a variety of books and internet access anywhere across the authority. ”

During the new mobile launch at Ysgol Rhosgadfan, pupils from the school also showed Gwynedd councillors present how they can borrow Welsh and English e-books through another service provided by Gwynedd Library Service. This e-book borrowing service accessed via R M books is the first of its kind by a Library Service in Wales that lets schoolchildren borrow e-books to read on their tablet devices in the classroom.

Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Education Cabinet Member added:

“The Lori Ni mobile library service is very important to Gwynedd primary schools, and teachers across the county see it as an essential service to get children reading and regular access to a variety of the best and educational reading materials in Welsh and English. I’m very pleased that this service for Gwynedd schools will continue following this important investment.”

To find out more about the Gwynedd Library Service, visit or follow @LlyfrGwyneddLib on Twitter.

Over 42,000 Welsh children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge

November 24, 2014

The epic mythical adventure that took place in libraries across Wales during the summer was a great success with over 42,000 children taking part.

Organised by The Reading Agency and the UK public library network since 1999, the Summer Reading challenge is the biggest annual reading promotion for children aged four to eleven.

The Challenge draws children into their local library and inspires them to read for pleasure.  It combines free access to books with fun social activities and a creative online element.  Throughout the Challenge, library staff and teenage volunteers support the children, helping them discover new authors and explore a wide range of different books.

The theme for 2014 was Mythical Maze, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, and the bilingual resources for the Summer Reading Challenge in Wales were supported by the Welsh Government through the Welsh Books Council.

Despite a challenging year for local authorities, there were good results once again in Wales, with a completion rate of 60% (compared to the UK average of 58%) in the Challenge.

2014 Summer Reading Challenge in Wales

  • 42,091 children registered to take part in the Challenge
  • 44% of the children were boys
  • 25,338 children (60%) completed the Challenge by reading six books (UK average was 58%)
  • At least 4,418 joined the library as new members
  • There were over 835,000 children’s library issues in Wales over the Summer
  • 16 visually impaired children took part using the VI resources supplied by the RNIB
  • At least 27 young people (aged 12 to 24) supported the Challenge through volunteering.

Teachers often comment that children who take part return to school as more fluent, confident readers, and parents also see the massive benefits of taking part in the Challenge.

“Joshua really enjoyed taking part in the Mythical Maze and read a lot more over the summer holidays as a result.  The challenge is a great incentive to get children – particularly boys – reading more” (Mum of 10 year old)

“My daughter has a speech and language disorder and I decided to complete the reading scheme with her. This experience has been amazing for her.  The confidence she has shown in speaking to the adults about the stories has been such a joy to watch.  Her understanding of the scheme we thought would be a problem but she has enjoyed choosing her own books weekly and then gaining the rewards.  Thank you to all the staff” (Parent)

The Summer Reading Challenge is just one of many exciting schemes public libraries are developing to help children develop a love of reading, gain confidence and get new skills.  This autumn has seen Welsh Government funding from the Department of Culture, Sport & Tourism for the roll out of the Every Child A Library Member campaign – enabling over 25,000 primary school children from 16 authorities across Wales to join their local library.

If you fancy a taster session of the Challenge why not take part in the mini Reading Challenge over the Christmas holidays – visit your local library or

Call in to your local library or visit to find out more. For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, please visit:

New initiative to encourage children to join their local library

November 18, 2014

Bridgend Library and Information Service has teamed up with local primary schools to inspire children to use their local library and provide every child aged eight and nine with a free library card.

The ‘Every Child a Library Member’ project started in March this year with six local authorities piloting the initiative and, thanks to Welsh Government funding from the Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, a further 25,000 children will now benefit as the scheme is being introduced in ten more local authorities, including Bridgend County Borough Council.

On Friday 7th November, year four pupils from local primary schools attended events at the libraries in Maesteg and Bridgend to launch the new initiative and enjoy fun group activities promoting the importance of the library and the opportunities available there.

Champion of this new initiative, Dr Rhys Jones – best known for his hit BBC series including ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ – was on hand to talk to the children about his adventures and lead them through a creative session.

Dr Rhys Jones said: “Libraries are such an important resource for children – they are a great place for them to let their imagination grow and to develop and it is vitally important that we encourage our children to read more not only to improve their literacy levels but also to help them with life skills and future opportunities.”

Following the launch of the initiative in Bridgend County Borough, further events will follow in libraries, schools and sports halls to allow all year four children to receive a goodie bag and free library card, allowing them to explore the benefits of their local library for themselves.

Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books, use the computers as well as many more resources to help improve their school work and enhance their leisure time.

The project supports the Welsh Government “Education Begins at Home” campaign, which encourages parents to help their child at home by making time to read, which can be beneficial to their performance in school and life in general.

Councillor Lyn Morgan, Bridgend County Borough Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “Libraries provide an invaluable environment for a child’s development. Getting children into the library and enabling them to use the wealth of resources available to them is wonderful.

“Whether it’s the opportunity to explore the bookshelves for their favourite stories, using the modern digital facilities for a homework project or joining a reading group, there’s plenty to motivate a child’s mind.”

Flintshire Connects competition winner

November 14, 2014

The winner of a council competition was invited to meet Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for education at Connah’s Quay Library after she wrote a thank you letter to library staff.Nine year old Felicity Birch won a family bowling ticket to celebrate the official opening of the new Flintshire Connects and Connah’s Quay Library earlier in the year.Felicity is a regular library visitor and was delighted with her prize, her letter said: “I would like to say how surprised and excited I felt when my Mum told me I’d won a prize. I really enjoy bowling so I am looking forward to going with my family. “I would like to say a big thank you to all the library staff and the competition organisers. I will let you know how I get on when I next change my library books. “(Hopefully I will win the game of bowling) from Felicity.”Councillor Chris Bithell, Cabinet Member for Education who spoke to Felicity and her little brother, Fynnlay about the prize said: “I was delighted to meet Felicity and her family at the library and to hear all about her prize winning bowling trip. The competition was a great way of encouraging children to use the library and I’d urge all parents to join their local library to get children reading. Connah’s Quay Library is also part of the Flintshire Connects centre which offers help and advice to anyone who uses council services.”Local schoolchildren attended an open afternoon earlier in the year where they visited the Library, Heritage Display and Connects Centre following a formal ceremony in the morning when Cllr Aaron Shotton, Leader of Flintshire Council cut the ribbon. Located on Wepre Drive the new Flintshire Connects centre provides local access to Council Services, Connah’s Quay Library and Learning Centre and a new Heritage Display.The opening times for the new combined Flintshire Connects, Library and Heritage Display are:Monday and Tuesday – 8.30am to 7pmWednesday, Thursday, Friday – 8.30am to 5.30pmSaturday – 9am – 12pmPhoto caption L-R: Cllr Chris Bithell, Cabinet Member for Education, Nicky Drury from Flintshire Connects, Felicity Birch (winner), Fynnlay White and Phillippa Birch.

Rare Welsh language Bible on display at Newtown Library

November 4, 2014

A rare Bible printed in the Welsh language and dating back to 1620 is on display at a north Powys library.

St Llwchaiarn’s Church, in Llanllwchaiarn, has generously loaned the Bible to Newtown Library for a year. The 1620 Bible has cultural and historical importance because it was the second Welsh language version of the Holy Bible to be published.

The first Welsh language Bible was printed in 1588 and translated by William Morgan. The 1588 translation was the basis of the 1620 revised edition and tis was carried out by Bishop Richard Parry and Dr John Davies of Mallwyd 32 years later.

Cllr Graham Brown, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Library Services, said: “I’m delighted that Newtown Library will display this item for a year and I would like to thank Llanllwchaiarn Church this generous loan.

“Due to its age, copies of the 1620 Bible are now relatively scarce so to have such an item of cultural and historical importance on display at one of our libraries is a huge honour. Displaying this Bible in Newtown Library will give the public a wonderful opportunity to view this fascinating item.”

Rev Nia Morris, Rector of Llanllwchaiarn and Newtown with Aberhafesp, presents the 1620 Welsh language Bible to Newtown Library staff Rosalind McLean and Kate McCaffrey Also pictured is church member Chris Flemming.