Opening year of library partnership is a success story
1 February 2017
Book lovers in Bridgend County Borough have given their local library service a 97 per cent satisfaction rating in the latest Welsh Public Library Standards performance report.
And with nearly 6,000 new library members registered during 2015/16, it’s been a successful opening chapter of Bridgend County Borough Council’s partnership with Awen Cultural Trust to run local libraries and other cultural services.
During the first year of the partnership with Awen – a registered charity – a total of 5,744 new members joined up at the county borough’s 11 libraries, taking the overall number of registered members up to 74,706.
The report also found that 449,004 visits were made to local libraries, while 450,230 books, DVDs and other items were borrowed.
Almost a quarter of book reservations are now made online, while the number of e-books, e-audio and e-zines loaned annually is up to 25,000.
Councillor Huw David, the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council said: “Our partnership with Awen Cultural Trust has enabled us to not only keep libraries open, at a time when other libraries have had to close in various parts of Wales, but also allows us to keep improving the service and make it as relevant as possible to local people’s lives.
“More than half of the county borough’s total population are now library members, and local libraries are continuing to play a particularly important role in improving children’s literacy.
“To encourage that life-long love of reading, the range of children’s books on offer is vast, with shelves stocked full of the top titles from CS Lewis and Roald Dahl, through to David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson.”
Councillor David added: “It’s also interesting to note that 43 per cent of those using ICT facilities in the libraries reported doing so because they had no access at home. This shows just how vital it is for libraries to continue performing this role, and make the internet accessible for as many people as possible in our communities.”
Richard Hughes, the Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said: “As a charity committed to making people’s lives better, we are delighted with the progress we have seen over the past year.
“By investing in our staff and resources, we have played a key role in supporting children’s literacy, digital inclusion, and health and wellbeing across the county.
“This has been reflected in the record number of attendances at our library events and activities, our most successful Summer Reading Challenge to date, and our partnerships with other community groups, which we look forward to building on over the next 12 months.”
In 2016, the most-borrowed book at Bridgend County Borough libraries was ‘Make Me’, part of the Jack Reacher series of books written by author Lee Child. Second on the list was ‘The Girl on the Train’, by Paula Hawkins.
Roald Dahl dominated the children’s charts, with eight of his books in the top ten most borrowed junior books. The number one most borrowed title was ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’, with ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ in second place.