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.
Participant feedback from the customers who undertook the last batch of sessions was very positive and they all enjoyed the five week course and had learnt a lot and felt much more confident using a computer than when they first started. Each participant had also made new friends as part of the course.
BBC First Click Sessions will continue to be run at the Leisure Centre in early October.
Margaret Mitchell’s Experience Before During and After BBC First Click
Six years before undertaking BBC First Click, Margaret’s husband purchased a home computer following completion of an IT related course.
Her husband started to coach her at home. This didn’t work out very well and on many occasions resulted in arguments or even both parties falling out! Margaret also felt that she had not gained any confidence from this experience and was still afraid of using a computer and basically gave up.
Vivienne Thomas, Outreach & Rural Services Librarian had attended a WI meeting in the Chepstow Area to give a talk about services provided by Monmouthshire Libraries. Following this talk Margaret also saw the BBC First Click national advertisement and related publicity on TV. This encouraged her to speak to a close friend resulting in them both putting their names down for the short sessions which were starting up at Chepstow Library during October of 2011.
At the beginning of the very first of the 6 sessions, Margaret was very nervous and terrified of doing something wrong or even damaging one of the library public computers. By the end of this first session these nerves had disappeared and she had fully enjoyed the session and she came back for the five remaining weeks.
At the end of the sessions, Margaret was no longer afraid of using a computer and her confidence had increased. She had also made some new friends and they still keep in touch regularly. After completing the course, her husband bought Margaret a laptop as a Christmas present and she has been hooked ever since and spends a lot of her time:
- Using Google to look up and find information on a variety of subjects.
- Checking both daily and national news and newspapers.
- Looking at poetry.
- Watching on demand TV services such as BBC iPlayer.
- Online shopping and spending her husband’s money.
- Sending and receiving e-mails to family and friends.
Libraries are working with the BBC in Monmouthshire to deliver ‘First Click’, a campaign aimed at older customers with little or no previous experience of using computers or the Internet. All of our libraries are running sessions and demand for these is such that we intend to run First Click throughout 2011. Customer comments from those completing the first sessions include:
Chepstow Customer – “Opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me”.
Monmouth Customer – “I do feel I have drawn benefit from it and am less nervous about tackling tasks on the computer”.
Abergavenny Customer- “My family are very impressed. They didn’t think Great-Gran could e-mail or do online buying”
Abergavenny Customer – “It’s doubled my confidence”.
Three Gilwern customers are now determined to buy their own computers.
At Abergavenny there is now a Second Click group because our takers for our first sessions felt they needed more time in the library to consolidate what they have learned.