Automatic library card for every child in Wales

March 5, 2015

Welsh libraries and primary schools are joining forces to provide every primary school child with a library card – the 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 & Tourism, this has now been rolled out to ten more local authorities (16 in total) targeting another 25,000 children.

Launching the initiative in Wrexham Library today, Dr Rhys Jones – best known for his hit BBC series including ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ said: “Libraries are such an important resource – they are a great place for children 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.”

Pupils from St. Anne’s and Hafod y Wern will be taking part in events in libraries, schools and sports halls. Headteacher Debbie Eccles from Victoria County Primary who are already part of the scheme commented: “‘Every Child A Library Member’ has been a great initiative to get children in to their local library to see the range of services they can provide for young pupils in Wales. Although lots of our pupils were already members, it gave the other pupils the opportunity to become a member, visit the library and understand the loaning system. It is targeting younger pupils in year 4 so hopefully it will encourage a lifelong enjoyment of library services and the reading experience.”

Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Partnership and Wellbeing said: “This library card will allow the children to borrow books straight away and get a great bag to carry their books home with them. Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books, use the computers and access lots of other resources.”

Use your local library to access the amazing range of services including:

  • FREE fiction, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels and talking books
  • FREE homework help – online and in the library
  • FREE e-books and e-magazines
  • FREE computer use and internet access
  • Clubs, games, events, activities and classes in the library
  • Friendly, helpful library staff
  • Somewhere safe to meet friends

This initiative is targeting year four pupils in sixteen Welsh authorities: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen and Wrexham.

This initiative supports the Welsh Government’s Education Begins at Home campaign which encourages parents to help their child at home by making time to read which can help their performance in school.

For more information please visit:

Welsh sporting stars launch World Book Day #bookselfie challenge

Welsh rugby stars George North and Scott Williams, together with their coach Robin McBryde, launched the World Book Day selfie challenge this week, ready for the big day on 5 March.

The 2015 World Book Day campaign sees the launch of the World Book Day selfie challenge #bookselfie. The challenge, as taken by George, Scott and Robin, sees participants reading a book, taking a selfie and posting it to #bookselfie @DYLLcymWBDwales.

Your selfie can be of you reading your favourite book, or why not take a #bookselfie of yourself reading in an unusual location?

‘We are all aware of selfies nowadays on Facebook and Twitter,’ said Angharad Thomas, Reading Promotions Officer for the Welsh Books Council, ‘but with the help of the WRU this year we’ve launched our very own selfie campaign.

‘Our aim is to encourage children, adults, parents and teachers across Wales to take a selfie of themselves reading, and upload it to our Twitter feed @DYLLcymWBDwales #bookselfie. By creating a visual collection of #bookselfies we aim to show the world that people across Wales, of all ages, love to read and enjoy reading all sorts of books.’

What to do:

  1. Read a book
  2. Take a selfie
  3. Upload it to Twitter #bookselfie @DYLLcymWBDwales

Need some inspiration? You can watch videos of George, Scott and Robin taking part in the challenge on the World Book Day Twitter feed @DYLLcymWBDwales.

Think you can do better? Why not upload your #bookselfie by 5 March for a chance to win a Welsh Rugby Shirt (child’s size)?

Take up the #bookselfie challenge – let’s get Wales reading!

Libraries, museums and archives across Wales scoop national awards for marketing excellence.

February 27, 2015

Museum, archive and library staff from across Wales have attended a prestigious awards event in the National Library of Wales today (Friday 27 February). The Marketing Excellence Awards recognise the fantastic work being done by staff in museums, archives and libraries across Wales, often with very limited resources.

Over forty entries were submitted to this year’s Marketing Excellence Awards from libraries, museums and archive services across Wales. Categories include: demonstrating marketing excellence; joint marketing project of the year and marketing champion of the year.

The awards are part of the Welsh Government’s ‘Attracting the Audience’ programme for museums, archives and libraries, and Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, commented: “We want to see as many people as possible using our excellent library, museum and archive services across Wales so that they can benefit from what’s available. Marketing plays an important role in encouraging people to use these facilities and I’m pleased we are recognising the positive work being done across the sector, despite the challenges.

“The standard of entries in this year’s awards has been excellent; it’s pleasing to see so many examples of good practice within these sectors and some really innovative ideas.”

Attendees at the event in the National Library of Wales had the opportunity to hear more about the winning entries, meet the judge and hear from guest speakers talking about social media and press engagement.

All entries were judged by Dr Jonathan Deacon, Reader in Entrepreneurship and Marketing at the University of South Wales and Trustee (former Chair) of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Cymru. Dr Deacon commented:

“I have been judging these awards for several years and I have to say that the standard of entries, innovative ideas and resourcefulness of staff in the three sectors continues to impress me. There are many examples of excellence in marketing that could equally be applied to any business or organisation within Wales. 

“Many of the entries were low in budget but high in creativity – proving that sophisticated and successful marketing does not depend on large budgets.

Winners received a trophy, certificate and a variety of prizes including marketing workshops and specialised equipment to enable them to further develop their skills and enhance their marketing activities.

For a full list of winners and to view the entries please visit


How would you like to save £1000 this year?

February 16, 2015

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

The number of people borrowing from public libraries in Wales went up by almost 5% last year. There were over 14 million physical visits and over 12.3 million books issued to library users.

Audio-visual and electronic issues, including e-books and e-zines rose to over a 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 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!


Library officially opens at new ‘shared site’

February 13, 2015

Llandrindod Wells’ library has officially opened at its new ‘shared site’, Powys County Council has announced.

The new venue at the Gwalia building was officially opened on National Libraries Day (Saturday 7 February), replacing the site on Beaufort Road which closed earlier this month. As part of the official opening, celebrations were spread over two days.

Acclaimed children’s author Anthony McGowan visited the library’s new location on Friday 6 February to talk about his books, one of which is being made into a film.  He also answered questions about his work from local primary and secondary school pupils. Cllr Graham Brown, Cabinet Member for Library Services, said:

“This is an exciting time for the new branch library in Llandrindod Wells, bringing more space an improved building for its library members and the wider community. “The ‘new’ library has some elegant features and the light and airy rooms have created a great reading and study space for borrowers of all ages to use.  It really is an asset that the town can be proud of and places the library at the heart of the community. “We are grateful to the Welsh Government for the grant funding which has made this possible.”

The council was successful in attracting £180,000 from to CyMAL (Council for Museums Archives Libraries Wales) to help fund the £200,000 project. Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said:

““I am delighted that we have been able to support the redevelopment of the new Llandrindod library with £180,000 of funding. Libraries make a real difference to people’s lives and our communities, they offer something to people of all ages, from introducing youngsters to the joy of books and reading to helping older people develop digital skills. “This new library is an example of how we are shaking off the old image of libraries and making them more accessible to the whole community. With bright, welcoming space, improved disabled access, improved IT facilities, activities for young people, free digital downloads and co-location with other council service, we are investing in a quality community hub. It’s no wonder Wales is bucking the UK trend with an almost 5% increase in active borrowers.”

Residents came alone to see what the new library had to offer and joined in the activities that celebrated the opening. Kay Thomas, the council’s Principal Librarian, said: “The opening and activities provided a great opportunity to show the town’s residents that the library has a place in the past and in the future while celebrating its rich heritage and resources and encourage people to take advantage of its new technology. “We are encouraging the public to pop along and see the new library for themselves.”