Thursday 20 March 2014

Every Child a Member

School Children in Wales encouraged to use their local library with automatic membership.

Staff at Tredegar Library yesterday giving a warm welcome to local children

Yesterday (19th March 2014)  saw the launch of a new initiative from the Welsh Government to support childhood literacy. The Minister for Culture and Sport John Griffiths AM, speaking with school children at Tredegar Library explained how Welsh libraries and primary schools are joining forces to provide every primary school child with a free library card - starting with children aged 8/9 in six local authorities - Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea.

In a Welsh Government press release the Minister said
"The link between library usage and literacy levels is well documented - over 42,000 children in Wales took part in last year’s Summer Reading Challenge which ran in 245 libraries across the country.
"Those children that took part maintained or improved their reading levels and we are hoping to build on this by giving every child the opportunity to use their library to borrow books and access all the other services available to them.”

Patron of the scheme, Dr Rhys Jones, star of BBC Series ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ also spoke to children from Bryn Bach Primary School about the importance of libraries in developing imagination and future life skills. Dr Jones delighted the audience with tales of his animal adventures.

The library card will allow the children to borrow books straight away and get a free goodie bag to carry their books home with them. Once proof of address is provided, they can then have access to thousands of free books as well as many more resources to help improve their school work and enhance their leisure time, 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

The project is led by CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales) and the Welsh Libraries Audience Development team and compliments the Welsh Government’s 'Make Time to Read' campaign, just 10 minutes reading a day can make a big difference and reading outside of school can help raise literacy levels and lead to higher achievement in school.

For more information about Every Child a Member, please visit:

You can view a video of the launch day here:

Mandy Powell,
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

Thursday 27 February 2014

Welsh Librarian of the Year Award 2014

Nominations are now open for the The 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. Awarded to an individual librarian or information professional, this award 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.

The Award is administered by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Wales, and is sponsored by SirsiDynix – worldwide library technology specialists.

We are calling for nominations for librarians / information professionals from all sectors of work.

The overall winner, the Welsh Librarian of the Year, will be awarded a cash prize.

Deadline for submission of nominations is Thursday 04 April 2014.

This Award is administered by CILIP Cymru Wales, part of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, and is enabled though the kind sponsorship and support of SirsiDynix.

The judging panel will be appointed by CILIP Cymru Wales. The sector winners and overall Welsh Librarian of the Year will be announced at the CILIP Cymru Wales Annual Conference on 15th May 2014 in Cardiff.

For more information about the award including Nomination Forms, please follow the link

Mandy Powell
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

CILIP Cymru Wales featured on BBC The Wales Report

The latest edition of The Wales Report (26th Feb) included a feature on public libraries in Wales, with contributions from The Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM and Dr Steve Davies, Cardiff University, a member of the expert review panel recently announced by the Minister to review current and future plans by Welsh local authorities to deliver public library services.

The panel will be chaired by Claire Creaser, Director LISU, Loughborough University with  Prof Hywel Roberts, a respected authority on libraries in Wales and Peter Gomer, a Policy Officer at the Welsh Local Government Association joining Dr Davies, from Cardiff University who has a particular interest in the management of community libraries. It has been noted that the expert panel does not include a qualified and practising librarian, but many will be reassured by Prof Hywel Roberts involvement.
The panel will be tasked to produce a report by July 2014.

To watch The Wales Report follow the link

Mandy Powell
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

Thursday 13 February 2014

CILIP Cymru Wales give evidence to Public Library Inquiry

Yesterday (12th Feb 2014) CILIP Cymru Wales gave evidence to the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee for the public library inquiry in Wales.

Carol Edwards, Chair of CILIP Cymru Wales, Jane Sellwood, representing the Society of Chief Librarians Wales and Mandy Powell, CILIP Policy Officer, Wales answered questions from the Committee in an hour long session at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

You can watch the recorded session here on Senedd TV 

To read the written evidence submitted by CILIP Cymru Wales, and other organisations and groups, to the inquiry please click on the link

If you have trouble viewing the video, click here 
and scroll down to
'Communities, Equality and Local Government 12 Feb'

Mandy Powell
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

Thursday 19 December 2013

CILIP Cymru Wales welcomes Welsh Minister’s statement on the value of public libraries

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Wales (CILIP Cymru Wales) welcomes the statement on public libraries made by Welsh Government Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths which acknowledges the role libraries play in delivering government policy and the contribution they make to local communities through learning opportunities, free access to digital services and as safe public places.

The statement, made on Tuesday 3rd December 2013, also addresses the issues raised by the Executive Committee of CILIP Cymru Wales in their recent open letter to the Minister. This focused on the potentially damaging effects of local council spending cuts on Welsh public library services and urged the Minister to work with local authorities to ensure Wales continued to develop a sustainable, innovative and professionally run public library service.

CILIP President Phil Bradley said “this is an extremely encouraging response from the Minister. I welcome especially his emphasis on the statutory basis of the public library service and his commitment to ensuring that Welsh people will continue to have the benefits of a professionally run library service responsive to local need”.

The Minister’s statement also highlights the fact that Wales has the only strategic framework for the development of library services in the UK and draws attention to the important partnerships libraries have with further and higher education and the National Library of Wales. He announces too his intention to commission an expert review of current and future plans by local authorities to deliver public library services.

“The Expert Review is very timely” stated Phil Bradley, “and CILIP Cymru will be pleased to assist in any way possible. There are very challenging times ahead and it is pleasing to see those responsible for libraries working together to provide the public library service Welsh people need and deserve”.

Written statement on public libraries in Wales

CILIP Cymru Wales open letter to Minister

Inquiry into Public Libraries in Wales

Mandy Powell
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales

Thursday 21 November 2013

CILIP Cymru Wales writes to Minister over threats to library services

Concerns over threats to library services in Wales raised in open letter to Minister for Culture & Sport

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Wales (CILIP Cymru Wales) has written an open letter to the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM, expressing concerns over the impact local authority budget cuts could have on public library services across Wales.

In the bilingual letter the Executive Committee of CILIP Cymru Wales have outlined what a powerful and important resource public library services are in meeting the Welsh Government’s objectives.

The Welsh Local Government Association announced in October 2013 that local authorities are facing reductions in core funding of £175m in 2014/15, with a further £65m in 2015/16. CILIP Cymru Wales are deeply concerned that public library services could suffer disproportionate cuts.

Phil Bradley, CILIP President, said,
 “Libraries are an essential part of any community. Good libraries – that are well stocked and run by professional librarians – transform people’s lives through access to information, reading and learning.  They provide access to the internet to people who cannot afford their own connection. A library can help people back into work, it gives them a safe space to research and educate themselves and it's a cornerstone in children's literacy. A library is a place that people who need support and guidance can turn to, and a librarian can help them find information they need. Cutting resources to a library hits those in the community who are most in need, most in trouble, who most deserve our support.”

The open letter reads:

John Griffiths AM
Minister for Culture and Sport

Dear Minister,

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Wales (CILIP Cymru Wales) wish to express our serious concern at the impact budget cuts to local authorities will have on library and information services across Wales. Although we understand that tough decisions have to be made as the funding available for all public services in Wales decreases, we are keen to ensure that public libraries are not expected to bear heavier cuts than other services.

Public libraries are a powerful resource and important in addressing a number of the priorities set out in the Welsh Government’s  “Programme for Government”, including promoting growth and tackling poverty which the First Minister describes as his top priority. They play an important role in advancing knowledge by providing access to information, supporting entrepreneurial activity, and inspiring life-long learning and reading for enjoyment. They foster social mobility and strengthen our communities, catering, as they do, for the needs of all parts of society from toddlers and their parents, to students (of all ages) and researchers, from local activists to small businesses, and from the frail and elderly and their carers to hobbyists and creators.

Welsh public libraries address poverty by tackling the digital divide, providing access to the internet with trained staff delivering advice and guidance, and helping people develop vital information literacy skills. They will also become an important community resource in helping people claim Universal Benefit and enabling them to take advantage of a broad range of statutory and voluntary support available in their local community.  These and other aspects of the service are planned, shaped and delivered by skilled and knowledgeable professional library staff.

Welsh public libraries are a national resource delivered locally and must be seen from a national perspective. The Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964 requires local councils to provide a local library service which is comprehensive and efficient and that is available to all who wish to use it. We have welcomed the support that you and previous Ministers have accorded to the public library service in the past and your recognition of its statutory status and importance to Wales. We trust that you will continue to provide this support and take a leadership role in promoting proper public library provision across Wales with your colleagues in local government.  We understand the pressures faced by all councils in Wales at this time, but would urge you to work with them to ensure that a sustainable, innovative and professionally run service is still available across Wales and, should it be necessary, that you will intervene to uphold the provision of the statutory service within a local authority.

We would be happy to assist you in this work and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Yours sincerely,

The Executive Committee, CILIP Cymru Wales


The letter was mentioned by BBC Cymru

Mandy Powell
CILIP Policy Officer, Wales