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Porthcawl Library Officially Reopened Following Refurbishment

PORTHCAWL Library has been officially reopened by the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Ken Watts, following its recent refurbishment.

 

A grant from the Local Government Cultural Service Fund (Welsh Government Culture and Sport Division) was used to reconfigure and redecorate the front half of the library, to increase the size of the children’s library and move the public computers to a space with more privacy and closer to the printing facilities.

 

The front desk has been moved, so that it no longer causes a bottle neck at the entrance, and there is a new seating area, which will provide a welcome space for groups to meet again, once the current Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

 

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

 

“Porthcawl Library is one of our busiest libraries for traditional book borrowing but its former layout meant that access was severely limited, especially when observing the necessary social distancing measures to keep staff and customers safe.

 

“We are grateful to the Welsh Government for their funding, and to the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough for officially reopening the library today. We look forward to welcoming our customers back and hope everyone enjoys using this community space once again.”

 

Mayor Cllr Ken Watts said: “Porthcawl Library remains at the heart of the local community. With coronavirus rates continuing to fall and lockdown restrictions easing, I am sure that people will welcome its availability as it once more opens its doors.

 

“For a long time now, local libraries have been about far more than simply lending books, and it is great to see how the new layout and refurbished facilities are going to enhance the many services that Porthcawl Library offers to the people of Porthcawl.”

 

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “Porthcawl Library is one of the most popular and well-used libraries in Bridgend County Borough, and I would like to thank Awen and the Welsh Government for enabling these improvements to go ahead.”

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Awen Libraries Launches Virtual Tour

Awen Cultural Trust has today launched a new 360° virtual tour of the libraries it manages across Bridgend county borough, to provide reassurance to customers returning to borrow books following the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

 

The interactive tour, which features Aberkenfig, Betws, Bridgend, Maesteg, Pencoed, Porthcawl, Pyle and Sarn libraries and the Books on Wheels home delivery service, has been developed in partnership with award-winning learning technology company Aspire 2Be.

 

Available to access from the new Awen Libraries website – www.awen-libraries.com – the virtual tour will allow users to travel through each of the library spaces by touching the screen of their digital device or the arrow keys on their computer keyboard.

 

There are videos embedded into each of the tours to give more information on topics including how to download e-books, how to carry out family and local history research, where to book IT and study spaces, and how to use the self-service machines.

 

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which runs the library service in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

 

“Our libraries were closed for the majority of the year, due to the pandemic, so there will be many customers who may not have visited in person for quite some time. We hope that by providing these 360° tours, we can give people an insight of what to expect to see at their local library when they return.

 

“The tours may also inspire others to visit a library they may not been to before, or even encourage people to visit a library for the first time. From the comfort of their own home, everyone will see how bright, welcoming and accessible our libraries are, however, for those who are still wish to limit our interactions, we will also continue to operate our popular Book and Collect service.”

 

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “The virtual tours demonstrate how Awen has launched a range of procedures to ensure that people can visit the library safely, and they also offer a unique insight into how local libraries operate.

 

“I hope that they will offer people greater reassurance as we seek to make more services available once more.”

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Cymraeg English

Self-Service Scanners Help Keep Book Borrowers Safe

AWEN Cultural Trust has invested in new self-service machines at Aberkenfig, Maesteg, Pencoed, Porthcawl and Pyle libraries to help keep book borrowers safe during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The self-service technology, which has been successfully used in Bridgend library for several years, enables customers to borrow, renew and return their books, freeing up library staff to focus on customers who need more help and support during their visit, and give them more time to plan and deliver activities.

For customers who want a quick and completely contact-free visit, the new technology will also allow them to check their library loans in and out, by using their smart phone as a personal scanner and following the simple on-screen instructions.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which runs the library service in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

“Our libraries are no longer transactional places, where books are simply borrowed and returned, they are vibrant community spaces, where the staff enjoy the interaction and individual support they can provide customers during their visit.

“By introducing this new technology in more of our libraries, our staff can spend more time away from the desk, providing an even better customer service and experience, especially to those people who have missed this interaction most during the lockdown.

“By helping our customers to manage their own transactions, they can speed up the check-out process and also keep it as contact-free as they would like. However, our library staff will remain on hand to help those who prefer the traditional service.”