And the results are …

“Staff provide an excellent service and are always welcoming and helpful”. These are just one of the many positive customer comments in a recent survey of library customers in Monmouthshire.

Customer satisfaction levels are very high as indicated by the results of the two Public Library User Surveys, with 94% of adults considering the service very good or good. 89% of children and young people said their library was good (the highest possible rating), reflecting a certain frustration with curtailed opening hours. Many customers, especially children, would like libraries to be open every day.

Library staff were praised for their excellent customer care and enquiry skills. “The librarians are extremely helpful and efficient and provide an essential service for the local area” wrote one user.

The library’s contribution to work and educational opportunities was highly valued by adults, with 30% saying that using the library had helped them with their work, and 41% saying it had helped them with their studies. 25% said that the library had helped them with health issues, and 18% had been helped with family/relationships.

60% of children felt that using the library had improved their reading.

“For more than twenty years my whole family has found library membership invaluable” was one comment.

Customers were also given the opportunity to suggest improvements to the library service and progress has already made to implement some of these. The need to improve the free Internet service was mentioned by a number of users, and Wi-Fi will soon be available in all libraries. Caldicot Library’s opening hours were also highlighted as a cause for concern and a consultation process will soon take place to find out what changes can be made to meet the needs of the community.

Some of the comments about Abergavenny Library reflected the cramped and limiting building. The new library planned for the town will offer more space and facilities for all age groups in the Abergavenny area.

Chepstow, the busiest library in Monmouthshire, is due to be refurbished with a £120,000 grant from CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales). Work will be carried out this summer/autumn and highlights include lots of new book displays, an improved layout for stock and flexible space for more activities, events and classes, and a designated area for teenagers. The project will also create a welcoming library reading garden.

For more information about what Monmouthshire Library Service can offer you and your family, please contact your local library or log on to www.libraries.monmouthshire.gov.uk

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New Downloadable Audio Book Service

Best-selling and classic titles are now available on demand thanks to the introduction of an exciting new service from Monmouthshire Libraries.

A new free download service offers a choice of more than 600 titles and the county’s library users can access these on their computer, MP3 player or iPod.  More titles will be added each month.

Users can register at any library in Monmouthshire or via the Monmouthshire Libraries website where they will be able to download up to 10 titles.  All titles are available with no waiting lists.  Loans automatically expire after three weeks so there is the added bonus of never having to return books and never risking late fees!

The council’s cabinet member for Culture and Environment, Giles Howard said: “I’m really proud of Monmouthshire’s Library Service and pleased that we are able to add yet another service to what is already on offer.  With the available software it couldn’t be easier or more convenient to enjoy a good book, whether in the car, at home or in the bath!  I hope current library members will benefit greatly and that this will encourage new members to take part too.”

Titles available include ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown’s ‘Lost Symbol’ and ‘Danny Wallace & the Centre of the Universe’ by Danny Wallace.

For more information please contact your local library.

Chepstow Library – April Events

On Tuesday 19 April, 39 children aged between 5 and 8 (and their carers) had an eggcellent time making Easter Bunnies and listening to various rabbit stories at Chepstow Library.

The following week on Thursday 28 April, children aged between 5 and 8 were cordially invited to Chepstow Library to enjoy a pre-Royal Wedding story and craft session.  Sixteen children graced us with their presence and had a majestic time making crowns and listening to royal stories (including the all-time favourite ‘The Queen’s Knickers!).

M R Hall With Members of The Audience

Local author M R Hall talked about his latest Jenny Cooper novel, ‘The Redeemed’ at Chepstow Library on the evening of Thursday 28 April. Following his talk Matthew conducted a question and answer session with the audience and later signed copies of his books.

Giggles, dribbles and burps: it must be rhyme time in Caldicot Library!

Come and fill our Library!  Caldicot Library has a wonderful selection of books for children of all ages and experienced and knowledgeable staff to help children find the right book.  Come and see for yourselves what’s on offer.

We have launched a  campaign to inspire a love of reading to all the children in the Caldicot area. We now hold fortnightly Baby Rhyme times and weekly Under Fives story times. The Library Manager, Fiona Ashley,  is a frequent visitor to the Cae Mawr baby clinic and we have secured a regular slot on each of the post natal courses.

Each school holiday we hold story times and activities for 4 – 8 year olds, this April we had an Easter story time and a session to celebrate the Royal Wedding called Princes and Princesses.  Children designed colourful wedding dresses and made beautiful crowns.

We have sent open invitations to all primary schools in the area, encouraging them to come in for class visits.  So far Castle Park Primary School has enthusiastically taken up our offer.  We will contact the schools again nearer the summer holidays and hope to visit school assemblies to inspire children to take part in Circus Stars, the national Summer Reading Challenge.

The Intergenerational Reading Group in Archbishop Rowan Williams School is thriving. There was a very enthusiastic response from both children and older people to Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (it was so funny it made me laugh out loud).

The next step will be to target playgroups and nurseries (Bluebelles are already regular visitors) and in September we will be starting a Chatterbooks Reading Group for 8 and 9 year olds.

For more information about what Caldicot Library is doing visit www.caldicotlibrary.wordpress.com