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Welsh Government invests £14m modernising over 100 libraries

Published: 04/03/2016

The Welsh Government has invested over £14million in updating and modernising over 100 public libraries across Wales in the past nine years, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, has announced. The funding has been used to improve facilities for the public, from updated ICT facilities to better community spaces and more flexible library areas, and has led to an increase in usage and membership. Some of the projects have also involved aspects at co-location, transforming libraries into community hubs by combining with other council services, such as leisure facilities and housing advice. The Welsh Government’s support is helping to contribute to the success of Wales’ libraries: there were over 13.6million visits made to public libraries in Wales in 2014-15 and over 11.1million books borrowed. The Deputy Minister is celebrating the announcement at the official opening of Deeside Library. Flintshire County Council received £92,000 from the Welsh Government’s Community Learning and Libraries Programme to create a new co-located space in Deeside Leisure Centre. The new library has self-service technology, allowing it to remain open all the hours the leisure centre opens. Library users also have the advantage of using the café and foyer space for reading, refreshments and access to Wi-Fi. Speaking ahead of the official opening, the Deputy Minister said: “Our commitment and investment in libraries is helping them to stay relevant for people’s lives today. Deeside is an excellent example of how co-locating can appeal to new audiences and benefit current users through new facilities and longer opening hours. “Libraries are important community assets. They are open to everyone and offer a range of social and learning opportunities. Libraries are a different place to what they were some years ago, and users new and old would be surprised at the modern services they now provide. I am pleased our support is allowing this transformation to continue, so they remain a valued part of our community.” The new Deeside library has a brand new stock of 5000 books and 4 public use computers and 20 tablets for use in the library. Cllr Aaron Shotton, Leader of Flintshire Council, said: The new hub is part of a £250,000 investment in Deeside Leisure Centre, with major funding contributions coming from Welsh Government. “Deeside Leisure Centre is a major attraction in Flintshire and the new library along with the major improvements to the entrance and reception area will ensure it is an attractive place to visit and remains a local landmark.