Gwent Archives Story Box available to view at Caldicot Library

Story boxAs part of the Explore Your Archive campaign launched in November Gwent Archives have created five different story boxes with tales about people from the past. The boxes contain the story and accompanying facsimiles of documents held by Gwent Archives and demonstrate the type of information that can be found by anyone at the Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale.

The Monmouthshire Story Box is currently being displayed in Caldicot Library and is all about the Reverend William Davies Jones of Llanellen. He led a scandalous life in the village during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, during which time he was involved in a high profile separation from his wife, was prosecuted for letting his dog run loose and persecuted by his parishioners. It makes fascinating reading.

If you want to know more about local or family history you can find out how your local library can help by taking a look at our website.

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For All Family Historians!

Library staff Vivienne Thomas and Lydia Kingdon providing all the family history answers!
Library staff Vivienne Thomas and Lydia Kingdon providing all the family history answers!

The Monmouthshire Libraries stand at the Gwent Family History Society Open Day last Saturday (8 June) was busy with a constant stream of visitors keen to find out more about their ancestors. Library staff resolved a wide range of customer queries – one looking for details of a Will, several hoping to confirm baptism and marriage dates, another customer looking for information on the King’s Head at Llanvair Discoed, someone else looking for details of a World War 1 nurse. Scandal, as always, was never far from the surface with hushed talk about whether a marriage might really have taken place given the lack of evidence!

Library staff answered 27 queries from customers using our online databases – Ancestry, Find my Past, Times Digital Archive 1785 – 1985 and Nineteenth Century British newspapers. Other customers were referred to the regular family history sessions being run in Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth libraries. In addition many people visited the stand and took away a range of leaflets and flyers. Over forty other stands were present at the event. If you’re interested in family history all Monmouthshire Libraries have a fantastic range of resources available. Call in soon!

Chepstow Library Officially Re-open!

Chepstow Library was officially opened by the chairman of Monmouthshire County Council on 29th February 2012 by Councillor Brian Hood MBE. The library underwent four months of refurbishment before opening its doors to customers in January.

The refurbished library has been designed to deliver a much improved service with increased opening hours. In addition to an extensive range of books, DVDs and talking books, the library offers improved Internet access, free wi-fi and laptops for use within the premises. The library is now open for an additional four hours on Wednesdays from 9am to 1pm.

Work is continuing on the library reading garden ready for a launch on World Book Night – 23 April 2012.

Weekly activities at the library include First Click basic IT sessions, story times for the under fives, baby rhyme times and family history research sessions.

Councillor Hood said: “Monmouthshire is proud of its library provision and at a time when closures are in the news it is heartening to see that we are actually enhancing services.

“Libraries are not just about books – there is something for all ages here from computers to daily newspapers and from children’s areas to e-books.”

Cabinet member for culture, Councillor Giles Howard added: “Council members and the public recognise the hard work of library and associated staff that has achieved yet another superbly refurbished library.

The refurbishment of Chepstow Library has been jointly funded by Monmouthshire County Council and CyMAL (Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales; a division of the Welsh Government) which is committed to creating a 21st century library network as part of the Libraries Inspire programme.

Libraries, Learning and Fun!

Individual libraries held various events during Adult Learners’ Week (17 – 21 May 2011) including: Poetry and Short Story Reading, Basic Family History Researching using the libraries subscriptions to Ancestry and Find My Past, Digital Photography, and Social Networking.

Chepstow Library offered a variety of taster sessions for Adult Learners’ week which took place 14 – 20 May.

Customers wanting to find out more about their family history came along to a beginner’s session where previously unknown about twins were found and the joy of tracing families back through the census returns discovered.

The Introduction to Social Networking proved popular and attracted interest from customers who had already attended our First Click course. Our special thanks go to the Chepstow Knitters who set up in the library on the intergenerational day of the week and showed enthusiastic customers young and old how to finger knit.

Usk Library held an Intergenerational Fun Day in partnership with Usk Community Educational Centre where story time sessions were held for both the under 5’s (including balloon animals and colouring) and 5 – 11 year old’s.

The most popular of all of the events seemed to be the Digital Photography Taster Sessions which were run at both Caldicot and Monmouth.  Customers who attended these sessions gave some very positive feedback.

  • “Very Good”
  • “Amazing amount in a short time”

For future sessions our customers would like to see events and activities based around both current and topical issues.  For example: The managing of music files, Skype, Ipads and Smartphones.

Library staff will be attending the ever popular annual Family History Day at County Hall on Saturday 11th June.