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Awen Cultural Trust Announces Changes to Mobile Library Service from December 2019

The mobile library service across the county borough of Bridgend is set to be overhauled so that more vulnerable, isolated and housebound people can benefit from books brought directly to their door.

From Monday 16 December, the existing mobile and Booklink vehicles will come off the road to prepare the routes. A new “Books on Wheels” service, with additional stops to people confined to their homes, will be launched from Monday 6 January.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which manages the library service on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

“The Booklink service for the housebound is greatly valued by our local communities, with our friendly and helpful staff visiting hundreds of homes a month to deliver books, audiobooks and DVDs. But we want to offer this service to even more people who would otherwise face difficulty accessing library services.

“With our data showing that a significant number of our mobile library users visit their branch libraries as well, it makes operational sense to remove our ageing van from the road and invest in a service
which will reach those who may have independence and mobility issues and can often feel isolated and lonely.”

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council to develop a flexible and innovative approach to the delivery of mobile library services, which maintains support for vulnerable groups but also expands the reach of the service by working with health visitors and young families, schools, care homes, day centres, childcare settings and hospitals.”

Staff from Awen Libraries are engaging with the mobile library users that are affected by these changes. Those who can will be encouraged to visit their local branch, whilst those who need to have books brought to them will be able to access the Books on Wheels service.
The Books on Wheels vehicle will continue to carry a deliver a stock of popular authors and also large print books for visually impaired people. Other books can be requested for delivery as part of the five-week cycle.

Richard Hughes added:

“We are grateful to those who have supported the mobile library service and will continue to monitor the impact of these changes on our users. We are confident that by adapting and enhancing the way we deliver this service to meet the needs of an ageing population, we will help safeguard this provision for the future.”

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said:

“This is excellent news for people who may be unable to visit their local library for various reasons. As well as being highly popular, I am sure that the Books on Wheels service will help people to avoid being socially excluded.”