It’s #lovedigital time for Welsh libraries

Libraries of all types across Wales will be celebrating #lovedigital for a week from 21-28th Nov 2015, using the hashtag #lovedigital and #carudigidol in Welsh.


The week builds on the success of last year’s #lovelibraries theme, but is focused on all the digital services libraries offer – each day of the week will be highlighting something different and the benefits of using the service e.g. e-books, e-journals for students etc.

The campaign will help to demonstrate the impact of libraries on digital inclusion in Wales, as well as raise awareness of the digital services available through Welsh libraries, and increase digital participation.

The daily focus with themed hashtag is listed below – not every library is able to offer every service, but many of these are offered across Wales:

  • #E-zines – 21st November
  • #FamilyHistory – 22nd November
  • #E-books / #E-journals – 23rd November
  • #JobSearch – 24th November
  • #E-audio – 25th November
  • #Gaming – 26th November
  • #FreeWiFi / #DigitalFriday – 27th November
  • #Coding – 28th November

Many libraries are holding themed digital events during the week, and a searchable database of them can be found on the Welsh Libraries website. Digital Communities Wales is also working in partnership with public libraries to hold events in libraries to help tackle digital exclusion.

As well as events and daily promotion of different services, there’s an all-Wales e-book reader competition for new people joining their public library service during the week and a digital library quiz! All the information is on the WelshLibraries website.

For library staff in Wales, all the themed bilingual materials and logos can be found in the WelshLibraries staff toolkit. The week is part of the audience development strand of the Libraries Inspire strategy for Welsh libraries. Check out their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Evidence from the Carnegie UK Trust shows that the best way to help people get online for the first time or use a digital service is to find out their interests and start with that. This campaign will hopefully reach new people who may decide to read an e-magazine for the first time, then may be tempted to try using other digital services, and so on.



Posted in Digital things, E-books, E-magazines, Health libraries, Libraries, Libraries Inspire, Marketing, Media, Online resources, Public libraries, Social media & social networking, Technology, Wales | 1 Comment

Digital literacy skills and exclusion heatmap

In October 2015 the Basic Digital Skills report was issued by Go On UK, (the UK’s digital skills charity). The findings were covered by the press partly because of the first ever digital exclusion heatmap, which displays a measure of digital exclusion across the UK, down to local authority/council levels.

Cover image of report of a human hand using a computer mouseThe inner librarian and researcher in me was interested in the evidence base for the findings and the map, both of which are definitely worth a look.

Go On UK have identified five key digital skills that people need in order to undertake simple digital tasks and to keep pace with trends. These are: managing information, communicating, transacting, creating and problem solving. When you analyse these skills by tasks, several of them are core information literacy skills such ‘verify sources of information I found online’ or information management such as ‘use a search engine to look for information online. (You can view the digital skills framework on the website and even complete a self-assessment of your own digital skills!) And some of them are similar to the new digital literacy qualification being implemented as one of the Essential Skills being implemented in Wales.

The searchable heatmap combines the basic digital skills (as defined by the 11 tasks) along with known indicators of social exclusion such as age, sex and broadband coverage.

The report found that people living in Wales had the lowest levels of basic digital skills (at 62%), although it is only just behind the West Midlands (63%) and Northern Ireland (65%).

Looking through the list of 11 tasks (which are on page 5 of the report), it is possible to see how library staff can re-affirm their position of being able to help people undertake digital tasks to help them improve their skills.

So it is very good timing for a forthcoming digital celebration week coming up in Wales, which will be the subject of my next blog post!

Posted in Digital things, England, Information literacy, Northern Ireland, Research, Scotland, Technology, UK, Wales | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Written Statement on Welsh public libraries

On 9th November Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Media and Sport in Wales, published a Written Statement on public libraries in Wales. The full text of the statement can be found on the Welsh Government website in English and in Welsh.
 Logo for Welsh Libraries
The statement highlights several recommendations of the Expert Review of public libraries in Wales which have been completed, including the Scoping report into future potential models of service delivery for public libraries, and the guidance issued on community-managed libraries. The Deputy Minister also refers to some of the successful schemes of the current library strategy, such as the modernisation programme with over 100 public libraries revamped by the end of March 2016 [details of many of them are on the Designing Libraries website], the all-Wales roll-out of Every Child A Library Member, and joint procurement. The Deputy Minister’s statement also makes reference to a potential new library strategy.
CILIP Cymru Wales has issued a response to the statement.


Posted in Buildings, Libraries, Public libraries, Wales, Welsh Government | Leave a comment

November is a month of months!

It turns out that not only is it NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it is also National Non Fiction November! And, by some strange coincidence, I am (sort of) approaching the latter through the former. I shall explain.

A shield with images associated with writing in it.

NaNoWriMo logo

Despite its name, NaNoWriMo is international, not just national, and every November hundreds of thousands of people around the world sign up to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. It works out at just over 1600 words a day. However, you can be a ‘rebel’ writer (an actual forum category) and write non-fiction or other works.

And this is what I’ve signed up for, in a rash moment. As I work full-time and also have a part-time job, I have little hope of reaching the 50,000 target, as it works out at about 2 hours of writing time a day (or longer, if the creativity is not flowing very well). I’m currently well below target, averaging only 500 words a day – see the chart below. The website helpfully works out when you will finish the 50,000 at your current rate – for me it is 4th Feb 2016!

Line graph

Currently not meeting the target

I am not writing a novel, but have decided to write as many blog posts as I can. Some may never be published, some will probably need considerable editing later on, but some may be good enough to be published this month. I have two blogs to my name – this library one, and a yoga one – so if I’m stuck for creativity on one I can try writing a blog post for the other.

Logo of open book with pictures of things coming out of it


In writing non-fiction for NaNoWriMo, I have accidentally neatly linked in to the National Non Fiction November month in the UK. This has been established by The Federation of Children’s Book Groups and is a celebration of factual reading material, particularly for children and young people. It was formed out of National Non-Fiction Day, and the website has lots of resources and ideas for libraries or bookshops to celebrate the month. CILIP has also written a blog post promoting it. If you like reading and writing and haven’t heard of either of these campaigns before you might want to look them up.

In case I’m lacking in creativity, does anyone have any suggestions for future library blog posts they’d like to read? Let me know and I’ll see if I can write a few words about them.

Posted in Challenges, CILIP, Events, Reading | 4 Comments

Scoping future options for public libraries in Wales

Cover image of report - child sitting at computerThe Expert Review of public libraries in Wales outlined 11 recommendations, one of which was to review future models of service delivery and to look at regional and national options (recommendation 10).

The Scoping a new public library service for Wales report has just been published and looks at the changing position of public library services in Wales and considers how services could be managed and delivered along different models in the future.

“The report concludes that there are 4 elements to the establishment of a more resilient public library service in Wales: co-located community hubs, regional delivery consortia, a national digital library service and a workforce strategy.” (Para 3)

The report is 40 pages long so if you’re pressed for time the executive summary is three pages long, and the conclusion is two pages long.

The report is available in English or Welsh.

Posted in Governance, Libraries, MALD, Public libraries, Shared services, Strategies, Wales | 2 Comments

Rugby stories tackled by children

Jane Purdie from the all-Wales Audience Development Team, writes a guest post about the recent successful Rugby Stories competition held with libraries, museums and archives in Wales.Competition logo

First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones AM announced the winners of the national Rugby Stories writing competition for young people whilst also officially launching the Kick-offs and Keep-sakes exhibition at National Museum Wales, Cardiff on 16 September 2015.

Organised by the all-Wales Audience Development Team, over 500 entries were submitted to the ‘Rugby Stories’ national bilingual competition for young people. The challenge was to produce a piece of creative writing or digital storytelling on the theme of rugby, to coincide with the Rugby World Cup taking place in the UK this autumn (including some matches being played in Wales).

To help inspire children events were held in libraries, museums and archives across Wales during the summer and children had the opportunity to work with authors, poets and rap artists as well as the chance to meet some local and regional rugby players.

Young people between 7-16 years old let their imaginations run wild and could enter a poem, short story or film. The entries were judged by a specially selected panel of judges comprising rugby stars, authors, librarians and media experts.

Attending the presentation event, two of the judges, author Dan Anthony and Bardd Plant Cymru (Children’s Poet Wales) Anni Llŷn were delighted to meet the finalists. Dan commented:

“Thank you to all the children and judges that have been involved in the competition; it has been a great opportunity for children to share what rugby means to them as well as developing their literacy and digital skills. It was great fun to read and watch the entries and a really difficult job to pick the winners and runners up – well done to everyone who entered.”

Group of children

Competition winners (C) Welsh Government

The winners are:

Poetry Winners (7-9 yrs)

  • 1st – Rowan Lewis, Swansea
  • 2nd – Deio Jones, Conwy (Welsh language entry)
  • 3rd – Ianto Roberts, Wrexham

Short Story Winners (10-12 yrs)

  • 1st – Morgan Parker, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • 2nd – Scarlett Carpenter, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • 3rd – Sophie Featherstone, Vale of Glamorgan

Digital Story Winners (13-16 yrs)

  • 1st – Joe Orrells, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • 2nd – Caitlin Dop, Wrexham
  • 3rd – Shay Fisher, Rhondda Cynon Taf

To view the winning entries please visit

Special achievement winners with Dan Anthony, Carywn Jones AM, and pupils' teacher. (C) Welsh Government

Special achievement winners with Dan Anthony, First Minister Carywn Jones AM, and Anni Llyn. (C) Welsh Government

And group of pupils from Maindee Primary school won a special achievement award. The pupils, who are new to Wales, worked with poet Francesca Kay and received the support of their teacher to produce work alongside their peers. The children made use of Newport Museum’s local rugby collections and Newport RFC for inspiration. Well done to Nicolas, Patrik, Erik and Maria for this outstanding achievement.

There were some great tweets and mentions on social media and a selection of these can be seen in the Storify we have created about the competition and award event.

Posted in Awards, Events, Libraries, Marketing, Public libraries, Wales | Tagged | Leave a comment

Supplier for all-Wales public library LMS just announced

Infographic with facts about Welsh public librariesThe supplier for the new shared LMS for public library services in Wales has just been announced. The single-supplier framework contract has been awarded to SirsiDynix. This piece of work, led by my colleagues in partnership with public library services in Wales, has been several years in the planning.

SirsiDynix will now work with the six local authorities in North Wales who will be first cohort to go live in 2016.

The full press release can be found on the Welsh Government website and has quotes from the various partners and two Welsh Government ministers.

If you want more information about it, please contact MALD or 0300 062 2112.



Posted in MALD, Public libraries, Technology, Wales, Welsh Government | 2 Comments