Bid Success for Chepstow Library

Monmouthshire Libraries have been awarded £120,000 by CyMAL (Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, a division of the Welsh Assembly Government) to refurbish Chepstow Library.

The existing library was opened in 1993 and benefits from an excellent location in the centre of town. Continued popularity with local residents of  all ages makes Chepstow the busiest library in Monmouthshire. The project funding will ensure that the library continues to develop services and deliver the very best in terms of reading, information, activities and customer care.

The refurbished library will offer a redesigned library entrance area, lots of new book displays, improved layout for stock and flexible space for more activities, events and classes. Plans include improved IT facilities with the introduction of wifi and laptops for use in the library.

We intend to update the children’s area and introduce a new space for teenagers. A new local and family history area will be established which will house and promote the Chepstow Collection, a fascinating local history resource.

The funding will enable the library to create a welcoming and secure reading garden, accessible from the library, for customers of all ages to enjoy. The library garden will be developed as a community project.

For more information on the refurbishment please contact Sally Bradford or Sue Wallbank, Community Librarians, Tel 01291 635730. Updates on progress will appear on the library website ( once the project starts in May.


Half Term Activities at Monmouth Library

Story and craft sessions at Monmouth Library are proving to be very popular with both parents and children. The half term session on Tuesday 22nd February was attended by 12 children and their parents. Children enjoyed a selection of stories which was followed by a craft session. They made a note book by designing the front and back cover and then putting the book together. Many of the children attended a similar session held in October and are now looking forward to the next one.

Under 5s Events in Chepstow Library

Under 5s Events in Chepstow Library Chepstow Library is receiving much local publicity for its Under 5s Story time held on Friday mornings from 10.15-10.45am, where parents and children enjoy reading and singing together. Chepstow mum Lindsay Hughes has been bringing her 22-month old daughter, Emily, to the sessions since she was born and said it provided a great opportunity for children to socialise as well as enjoy the story-books. She said “Emily really loves it. I used to bring my eldest song to the sessions too and they both really enjoy coming here. It’s a great initiative and gets them all involved. They love the sing-songs too”.

Refurbishment Bids for Caldicot and Chepstow

After the successes achieved as a result of Monmouth Library’s refurbishment, Caldicot and Chepstow Libraries have submitted bids to CyMAL (Museums Archives and Libraries Wales) for grant funding under the Community Learning Libraries Capital Development Programme 2011/12. If successful, the projects will enable the libraries to redesign and refurbish all public areas including carpeting, painting, seating, study spaces and improved bilingual internal and external signage. Emphasis will be placed on improved IT facilities such as RFID self service and public wifi. Both libraries intend to improve accommodation for all customers, including a dedicated teenage zone and local / family history area. Chepstow Library, which is due to have its first floor office space redesigned as part of corporate agile working plans, has also included the development of a reading garden, accessible from the library, in their bid. We will soon know if we’ve been successful!

MacMillan Cancer Support

We have been successful in obtaining grant funding to provide a dedicated Cancer Support and Information Coordinator. Funded for three years, the post holder will work across the county in libraries, the prison and other venues to offer support to people affected by cancer, their carers and families.  He or she will be based in Abergavenny Library and will conduct private interviews, hold meetings and organise therapeutic reading and other groups in all of the county’s libraries.  He/she will also build a database of useful information and train library staff in dealing with health related enquiries.  This post has been warmly welcomed by local residents who have been affected by cancer as they know from personal experience how much difference this kind of service could make to fellow sufferers.

Reaching Out to the elderly and the isolated

During November we conducted a Public Library User Survey in all libraries.  We have just received the reports and are busy analysing the results and comments. 

This information couldn’t have come at a better time as we have just started reviewing the service offered by our mobile library.  Reaching Out is a mobile library service dedicated to meeting the needs of the housebound, people who live in Residential Homes for the elderly or Sheltered Housing.  It also serves readers in more isolated areas of Monmouthshire.

The comments from the customers highlight what an important service this is to the elderly (72% were aged 75 or over).

“This mobile is our life line and the service we receive is second to none”

“My life has been greatly improved since I have received books from Reaching Out”

The quality of the service offered by the Driver/Assistant, Tommy Need, was also apparent as 91% rated the customer care as “very good” (the highest possible rating).

Tommy is extremely helpful.

Very satisfied.  Tommy is fantastic.

If you would like to make any suggestions on how we can improve the service to the elderly or the isolated, please email

Children Love Chepstow Library!

February has seen a bumper crop of children’s activities in Chepstow Library. Staff have been really pleased to welcome Pembroke School Special Needs Unit and all their nursery school children. During half term 27 children enjoyed a ‘creepy crawly’ story and craft activity. Then towards the end the month, Dan Anthony (author of ‘Rugby Zombies’), led an inspiring session encouraging year 6 children from the Dell primary school to read and write their own stories. All of this in addition to Chepstow’s regular activities for children – Ti a Fi on Tuesday mornings, Baby Rhyme Times fortnightly on Thursday afternoons and Under Fives Story Times on Friday mornings.