November 25, 2015

This week libraries in Wales are highlighting their amazing digital services.

From free downloads, free wifi and free family history resources to a wide range of courses and drop-in sessions to help you get online, use an iPad or learn new skills, libraries can help you access a wealth of digital services and save you lots of money.

Across Wales, libraries host an average of 1000 digital sessions every month attended by around 10,000 people of all ages – sessions include job clubs, iPad drop in sessions, local and family history searches, social media skills, internet safety and coding clubs.  With Christmas coming some libraries will be running online shopping courses to show you how to get the best deals.

Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism commented: “I’m really excited about the #LoveDigital campaign which is taking place inside, and outside, libraries across Wales. Libraries provide access to culture, information and learning in many formats. Whether you’re a digital expert or have yet to experiment with the digital world, libraries have something for you, and staff who can help you.

“Libraries have been keeping up to date by investing in digital services and I encourage everyone to try out a new digital service this week, in public and academic libraries. I’m pleased that Welsh Government support has broadened the range of services available so that everyone can enjoy digital services and save money.”

For the avid readers there are over 25,000 e-books and more than 4000 e-audio books with titles suitable for children, teens and adults – great for when you are out and about.

Do you spend more than you should on magazines?  Why not browse our collection of more than 200 top magazine titles including BBC titles, top health & fitness publications, gossip magazines – whatever your hobby you are more than likely to find something relevant to you and they are all available to download for free.

Whether you are an avid reader or a digital dinosaur your library can offer you a whole range of new online services many of which are available 24/7 – you can even join online and for everyone that joins this month there is the chance to win an e-reader.

Find out more at

New titles added to the FREE E-zines service from Welsh Libraries

November 21, 2015

From Heat and Grazia to Who do you think you are and Radio Times the Welsh Libraries e-zine service has something for everyone, and it’s just got better!

Do you spend more than you should on magazines? Why not browse our collection of more than 200 top magazine titles including BBC titles, top health & fitness publications, gossip magazines – whatever your hobby you are more than likely to find something relevant to you and they are all available to download for free.

Twenty new titles have just been added to the service including: Woman’s Weekly, Look, Heat, Grazia, Autocar, Lonely Planet Traveller, Empire, PC Advisor and Radio Times!

One user said ‘I absolutely love the free e-zines service from Welsh Libraries. I used to spend an absolute fortune on weekly and monthly magazine subscriptions, but now I can download them all for free! I can even keep back issues on my laptop so I don’t end up with big piles of magazines everywhere!’

Libraries across Wales are celebrating everything digital this week as part of the #LoveDigital campaign. From e-books and e-zines to family history and job search your local library has it all.

To find out more about the great digital services available in Welsh Libraries take a look at our website:

Young reading volunteers presented with certificates

November 5, 2015

A group of young volunteers who helped encourage children take part in this year’s summer reading challenge have been rewarded for their efforts.

27 high school pupils from across Powys become ‘Reading Activists’ and helped children aged four to 12 to choose books, listen to them read and even reading to the children who took part in ‘Record Breakers’ – the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge.

The volunteers collectively worked a total of 139 hours across seven libraries and actively promoted this year’s reading challenge over the summer and also organised the award ceremony for the children that completed the challenge. They are now receiving certificates from the council’s Library Service for their efforts.

This year, libraries in the county had a record number of children take up the summer reading challenge.  The Library Service also broke its own record for children completing this year’s challenge compared with last year.

Cllr Graham Brown, Cabinet Member for Library Services, said: “Most young people at high school in Powys have enjoyed the Summer Reading Challenge in the past as primary school pupils but as reading activists, they were excellent and enthusiastic reading role models for young readers this summer and made a contribution to improving literacy levels in their communities.

“I would like to thank all those who volunteered this summer and helped make it a successful and rewarding initiative. Our Library Service wishes to continue this in the future as it offers valuable experience in promoting reading to children throughout the year.”

Newborn becomes Llanelli Library’s youngest member

October 19, 2015

Llanelli Library welcomes its youngest member at just three days old.

Sienna James signed up after visiting with her mum Steffi who is also a member.

Carmarthenshire Libraries have dramatically changed since Steffi was a youngster with more people borrowing different items from DVDs, CDs, newspapers and magazines to visiting online services.  Due to the demand libraries are now changing the amount you can borrow from 10 cds or books to 20 per three-week period.

Sienna’s mum Steffi said: “I wanted to join her early as her sister Olivia is a member and she loves attending story-time on Tuesdays at 10.30am.

“We also attend all the activities in the holidays, as well as messy play and language and play. Each of these sessions has helped my daughter to develop, not only her listening and exploring skills, but also taught her about being creative.

“As a working mother, you can’t always give that type of attention to your child, but these sessions help to allow Olivia to be an independent young girl.

“She’s very confident and loves going to the library. This is something I wanted for Sienna.”

The family reads together at home, as well as attending the library’s many events.

“At home, our favourite book to read together is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” Steffi said.

“This was a book we received from the library during a story-time session, and Olivia now enjoys reading her version of the book to Sienna.

“I look forward to taking both girls to the library to swap our books and enjoy story-time.”

Whether you are an avid reader, enjoy films, love music, or just want to keep up to date with local and world news, libraries can fill your needs as there is something for everyone, from cradle to the grave!

The council’s executive board member for leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “Sienna is believed to have become Carmarthenshire’s youngest library member and the service is more than to ready to cater for her, with books which are specially designed with simple shapes for babies setting out on their journey of a lifetime – a love of books and learning!

“It’s never too early to start a child on their reading journey, sharing books with your child is one of the nicest activities you can do, it develops so many skills and it all happens very naturally when you read and talk about books with your child.”

Look out for the weekly children’s Actif storytime sessions  at Ammanford, Carmarthen and Llanellil libraries and the ongoing events at each library, with multi functional room hire available for all occasions from birthday parties, memorials, concerts and meetings. Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford library are open six days a week, and offer an IT Suite together with the reference department to help and assist with family history research.

Cllr Gravell added: “With over half a million books on offer between three regional, 13 branch and mobile libraries you’re never too far away from a centre of knowledge. Public access computers and Wi-Fi are available at all libraries.”

Question: How far can a Summer Reading Challenge certificate travel?

October 14, 2015

Answer: Australia – how’s that for a record breaker!

10 year old Nate Johnson joined the Summer Reading challenge in Conwy Library, whilst staying with his Nain and Taid for three weeks in the summer holidays. Nate is a prolific reader and logged on to the library catalogue before arriving in the country in order to reserve plenty of Doctor Who books ready for his holidays in Wales! He was delighted to be presented with his certificate in Conwy library and will be very proud to show it to his teacher and classmates back in Adelaide.