Could you be the Welsh librarian of 2014? (Repost)

On 18 March, the following message appeared on Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog (Link: http://libalyson.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/could-you-be-the-welsh-librarian-of-2014/

Nominations are now open for the second Welsh Librarian of the Year Award.

The award recognises and celebrates the contribution of librarians and information professionals to contemporary society in Wales and beyond. It champions the achievements, impacts and innovation of those who make a significant difference to either the communities which they serve or to the profession in Wales.

Deadline for submission of nominations is Thursday 04 April 2014, and the announcement will be made in the CILIP Wales conference on 15th May. For nomination forms and T+Cs, check the CILIP Wales page.

The Award is administered by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Wales, and is sponsored by SirsiDynix.

You can read about last year’s winners on Alyson’s blog or the CILIP Wales blog.

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Minister opens all-new Bridgend Library

A new chapter has been marked for book lovers in Bridgend County Borough after Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths officially opened the all-new Bridgend Library.

The event capped a memorable opening period for the library, which has seen visitor figures flourish since relocating from its former Wyndham Street location last November.

Pupils from Oldcastle Primary’s choir provided a musical welcome for guests as the minister toured the new premises and saw how members of one of the library’s reading groups are making the most of the facilities.

Now located in a larger, more modern space at Bridgend Recreation Centre, the all-new library offers visitors a range of new facilities including state-of-the-art self-service machines, thousands of new books, enhanced ICT equipment including computers and tablet devices, new furniture, reading corners and an exciting children’s space which features a giant book that they can sit in while browsing.

The new library also features improved accessibility for all members. As well as a lift, wheelchair access, user-friendly colour schemes, safer shelving and increased opening hours, two hours’ free car parking has been introduced for all visitors to Bridgend Recreation Centre and new bus stops have been installed just outside with direct links from Bridgend Bus Station.

The library move was supported by a £200,000 Community Learning Libraries Capital grant from the Welsh Government and forms part of the wider multi-million pound improvement works taking place at Bridgend Recreation Centre, which is being implemented through the council’s partnership with Halo Leisure.

Mr Griffiths said, “Investing in the future of our young people to give them the best possible start in life is extremely important so I am particularly pleased at the increase of usage of the brand new library by children.

“This new facility is an innovative and more sustainable model of high quality public service delivery and provides a wonderful destination for the whole family.”

Councillor Lyn Morgan, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “When we first announced proposals for moving the town library from its traditional location on Wyndham Street, some understandable concerns were expressed. However, the new library has been exceptionally popular since first opening.

“Over 17,000 visits were recorded and more than 12,000 library resources were borrowed from the library within the first month. It is currently on target for recording a thirty-three per cent increase in visitor numbers over the course of a year, and a thirty-nine per cent increase in the number of items borrowed.”

A series of children’s events have already been held at the library, including a bilingual fun day, a Christmas storytime performance and a Madhatter’s tea party for local looked-after children.

Combined with the library’s new design and location, this has contributed to a rise in the number of children and young people using the library, which has doubled from 15 to 30 per cent.

The library is now planning to introduce a series of exciting joint events with Halo Leisure which will utilise some of Bridgend Recreation Centre’s other brand new facilities.

Scott Rolfe, Halo’s Chief Executive, said: “We believe that libraries play a crucial role for everyone in the community, from young people studying and looking for work, to older residents keeping their minds active with books and newspapers, and families introducing their children to the wonderful world of reading.

“We’re delighted that the library is located at Bridgend Recreation Centre, and excited about the forthcoming events that we will be delivering together with the library.”

To find out more about the latest developments at Bridgend Library, contact Bridgend Library and Information service on 01656 754800 or email blis@bridgend.gov.uk.

You can also follow @BridgendLibs on Twitter, or like Bridgend Libraries on Facebook.

First AGM of “Friends of Pennard Library” will be held on 26 April 2014

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FoPL Flyer

Advance notice about the first Annual General Meeting of the “Friends of Pennard Library”, which is being held at Pennard Community Hall on Saturday, 26 April 2014, at 7.30pm.

 

Community Libraries

Libraries throughout the UK have, for the last couple of years, been the main target for Local Councils to attack when seeking ways to save £s from their annual budgets  –  or so it appears to communities up and down the length of the country.

In late 2013, the Gower (South Wales) community of Pennard became very much aware of the above situation when, from completely out of the blue, they heard (via the local newspaper) that our Local Authority (Swansea) had stated that amongst their ‘proposals’ for the 2014/15 financial year, it was their intention to close the much-loved and much-used Pennard Library facility at the end of the 2013/14 financial year; or at least, that was to be the situation, unless………….!

The ‘unless’ part of the Local Authority’s ‘leak’ to the local newspaper, was revealed in the former’s statement that “No decisions have been made.  The proposal for Pennard Library is to transfer it to a community-led volunteer service which would mean the majority of library services currently offered there would continue to be available.” [Source: South Wales Evening Post, 12 December 2013;  Comment made by Councillor Nick Bradley, Swansea City Council’s cabinet member for regeneration)

The main word in the Council’s statement, is the word ‘volunteer‘, and as the community of Pennard has since discovered (from the reading of far too many online webpages devoted to the same subject  –  i.e. local Councils’ closing Libraries  –  all appear to have the same theme) the community will be expected to run their library at their own cost, and with their own (volunteer) staff, otherwise the local Council will shut down the facility!

Although the Pennard community has fought since mid-December 2013 (and as at March 2014, is continuing to fight) against the Local Authority’s proposal re the closure of Pennard Library, and although the initial “Pennard Library Working Group” has, in recent months, evolved into a group under the heading of “Friends of Pennard Library”, the main premise of both the Working Group and the Friends has always been that Pennard Library is not only to be kept open, but to be kept open with its existing staff and with all of its CCoS facilities and arrangement(s) in place, and nothing less than that.

The situation as it currently stands (as at 06 March 2014) is that despite;-

  • Councillor Nick Bradley (see above) having verbally promised on more than one occasion both to individuals and to reporters that Pennard Library will remain open and providing all services with its present staff until the end of 2014, the same Councillor  –  despite his having made a verbal statement that he would put his promise into writing  –  has so far completely failed to keep that promise, and
  • Despite the “Pennard Library Working Group” having requested (in January 2014) Steve Hardman (Head Librarian) of/at City and County of Swansea to make Grant Applications to both CyMAL (in respect of £120,000) and to the Rural Development Fund (in respect of £40,000)  –  both being for the refurbishment of Pennard Library  –  to date, and despite several requests to him,  both the “Pennard Library Working Group” and the “Friends of Pennard Library”have been denied access to all documentation, and thus to what CCoS actually wrote in the said grant applications.
    • N.B.  In respect of the last bullet point, the “Friends of Pennard Library” have recently (03Mar14) received an email from Steve Hardman in which amongst other items, he wrote: “Obviously at this stage we have no idea if the Authority will be successful in relation to the CyMAL bid so maybe it would also be useful to touch on what the Friends thoughts are if we were not successful in obtaining the grants.”  Such comment(s) unfortunately fail to provide much confidence in either the  City and County of Swansea themselves, nor in how they promoted the Grant Applications to CyMAL and the RDF.