News

WELSH LIBRARIES ARE BUCKING THE UK TREND!

December 12, 2014

The number of people borrowing from public libraries in Wales is up by almost 5% in the last 12 months – whilst the UK as a whole has seen a decrease of over 4% according to figures released by CIPFA (Chartered Institute for Public Finance & Accountancy) for 2013-14.

Whilst visits to libraries and book issues have slightly decreased, there were still over 14 million physical visits to public libraries across Wales last year and over 12.3 million books issued to library users.

Audio-visual and electronic issues, including e-books and e-zines rose to over 1 million showing an increase in usage of 19% compared to last year. The all-Wales roll out of free e-books and e-magazines is a major factor in this increase. This is an excellent example of how libraries in Wales are continuing to meet the changing demands of customers by providing up to date services, relevant to them.

The level of enquiries made to library staff increased by 27% to over 2.6 million. And with many public services now being delivered primarily online this has led to an increase of over 3% in computer use in libraries, with over 2 million hours of free computer use.

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism, Ken Skates AM, commented:
“I’m pleased to see the increase in the number of active borrowers in Wales and the increase in electronic issues. Libraries make a real difference to people’s lives by improving literacy, developing digital skills and providing access to knowledge, which in turn helps to tackle poverty and support health and well-being. These are important priorities for us all.

“We are all facing challenging circumstances and it is clear we need to embrace change if we are to ensure the important services libraries provide can continue. Unlike England, I am committed to maintaining a quality community service. In Wales I have maintained the Welsh Public Library Standards and a capital grant programme which has allocated funding to modernise 98 libraries to date. I also announced £1 million of investment to this programme for 2015-16.

“Recently I was fortunate to visit a new library facility which is part of the Ely and Caerau Community Hub. It had all the services a traditional library would provide, in a welcoming setting, but with the addition of housing information, Communities First office, meeting rooms, and ICT Training Suites. The manager told me that as a result they had seen library members increase by over 60% as people who had never used a library before were enticed inside.”

For more information about Welsh libraries, visit www.welshlibraries.org

ENDS
For more information please contact: jane.purdie@wrexham.gov.uk 01978 722987

Notes to Editors
For more information about Welsh libraries visit www.welshlibraries.org

CIPFA Public Library 2013-14 press release

http://www.cipfa.org/about-cipfa/press-office/latest-press-releases/cipfa-library-survey

The latest figures from CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) for public library usage in Wales in 2013-14 show that:

• Over 300 public libraries service points in Wales are open 10 hours a week or more, including mobiles
• Over 14.1 million visits were made to Welsh public libraries (14,193,602)
• The number of active borrowers is 574,296 (defined as borrowing an item in the last 12 months)
• Over 12.3 million books were borrowed from Welsh public libraries (12,396,142)
• Over 1 million audio-visual loans were made, including music, talking books, films, e-books and e-magazines (1,033,807)
• There are over 2800 terminals with free internet access in Welsh public libraries (2833)
• Over 1.9 million hours of free computer use in libraries were made by the public (1,968,067)
• Over 2.6 million enquiries were handled by public libraries in Wales (2,660,559)

 

 


Change must be embraced to secure libraries futures – Deputy Minister

December 9, 2014

We are at a crossroads in the delivery of public library services and need to embrace change, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates has said.

Responding to the Expert Review of Public Libraries in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government to look at the role of public libraries in communities across Wales, the Deputy Minister said a transformation of how we see libraries is needed for them to remain at the heart of the community.

The report of the Expert Review, published in October, made recommendations including collaboration between public services to establish community hubs. These will enable people to access/benefit from a range of services, from traditional library activities to accessing advice from agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, and a wide range of cultural and education activities.

The Deputy Minister said:

“Public libraries play a vital role as hubs at the heart of our communities. They make a real difference to people’s lives by improving literacy, developing digital skills and providing access to knowledge, which in turn helps to tackle poverty and support health and well-being. These are important priorities for us all.

“Like all public services across Wales, libraries are under increasing financial pressure, which means the current model of small libraries will not survive. We need to embrace change if we are to ensure the important services libraries provide can continue. Unlike England, I am committed to maintaining a quality community service. In Wales I have maintained the Welsh Public Library Standards and a capital grant programme which has allocated funding to modernise 98 libraries to date.”

The Deputy Minister added:

“The Welsh Government’s budget for 2015-16 includes a further £1million in capital funding to modernise our public libraries through the Community Learning Libraries grants programme. The report highlights examples of best practice in collaboration between services and as a result I have decided that partnership working to create multi-service community hubs will be a requirement for all applications for grant funding in 2015-16.

“Last week I was fortunate to visit a new library facility which is part of the Ely and Caerau Community Hub. It had all the services a traditional library would provide, in a welcoming setting, but with the addition of housing information, Communities First office, meeting rooms, and ICT Training Suites. The manager told me that as a result they had seen library members increase by over 60% as people who had never used a library before were enticed inside.

“I believe this is the future for libraries in Wales and I intend to focus available funding on activities which develop this exciting and transformational agenda to help our libraries deliver the services people value.”

The Expert Review of Public Libraries in Wales report can be found here:

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/cultureandsport/museumsarchiveslibraries/cymal/libraries/public-libraries-review/?lang=en


Recycled books light up Christmas

December 5, 2014

A Christmas tree made out of recycled books is hoped to reap benefits for charity

Staff at Llanelli Library have been busy erecting the tree, with over 300 off the shelf books, to try and scoop a cash prize of £500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The tree stands over 5 ft tall and is complete with colourful tinsel and fairy lights. The unique festive decoration takes pride of place in the children’s library and has attracted much attention.

Staff sprang into action after an email was received inviting libraries to take part in a national competition. Libraries across the globe had to submit pictures of how their buildings look during the Christmas holidays. The winner to receive £500 for a charity of their choice.

Judging is due to take place on December 10.


Deputy Minister has his Christmas list sorted!

December 3, 2014

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates has embraced his responsibility for libraries by taking full advantage of the amazing free services on offer.

Visiting Ely Library in Cardiff this week, the Deputy Minister commented: “Welsh libraries deliver a fantastic range of services to people – from babies and toddlers coming here for story and rhyme times, to people searching for jobs, older people learning how to use IT and of course the thousands who borrow free books.

“I’ve also recently discovered the fantastic free digital magazine downloads – there are over 200 top titles with the recent addition of the very popular BBC magazines.

“This is another excellent example of how libraries in Wales are continuing to meet the demands of customers by offering up to date services, relevant to them and, building on the success of the free e-books offer in Welsh libraries which now offers over 16,000 titles, we are hoping to see the number of new users grow significantly.

“Many people who didn’t think libraries were for them can take a fresh look at the libraries in Wales, see how they can save a considerable amount of money and discover new areas of interest by using the full range of services available both online and at their library. Libraries are an amazing free resource and we should all make more use of them. A library card would make a great gift this Christmas!”

To access these online services you just need to be a member of a library in Wales and you will need to log in with your library number you can then download as many magazines as you like, keep them for as long as you like and build your own digital library of back issues.  Not a member, join for free on-line via your local council website, at your local library or at www.welshlibraries.org

 


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 www.gwynedd.gov.uk/library or follow @LlyfrGwyneddLib on Twitter.