Although some people may view a launch of a government strategy as possibly a bit dull, the library staff at Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Treorchy library did an absolutely fantastic job in creating a lively and interesting event for the launch of Libraries Inspire – the Welsh Government’s new library strategy for 2012-16 which will be delivered by CyMAL and the library sectors in Wales. The marketing project officers for the library programme worked with RCT library staff to create a programme that showcased what libraries are about, and which fitted into the wider Libraries Fortnight festival thenes (games, sports, taking part, fun for all the family, etc).
I arrived at Treorchy train station after a frosty and early start from Aberystwyth, and soon saw the library: windows covered in the ‘Race down to you library’ festival branding materials. Inside the place was alive: there were school groups in reading sessions, tables set up with old board games for people to play, (miniature) ten pin bowling down one of the aisles, a treasure hunt for children based on the Bibli family characters, an exhibition provided by Cynon Valley Museum, and upstairs in the teen zone, teenagers were playing a range of diffrent games including staging a Wii tournament. The library staff had also had the really good idea of using the A5 Libraries Fortnight posters as bunting and this was hung up throughout the library. Oh, and in amongst all this there were the regular library users as well!
The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Huw Lewis, had an informal tour around the library, and I’ll gloss over a small boy beating him at the ten pin bowling…
The Libraries Inspire launch itself took place up in the teen mezzanine area (a creation that was made possible through a CyMAL grant in 2008-09) and the Minister described how libraries had been inspirational in his life, and how the new strategy would help deliver library services that would inspire the future generation. He acknowledged that difficult times were ahead but that through partnerships, the libraries of Wales would be there for the people of Wales.
The Libraries Inspire strategy is now available in hard copy from CyMAL (contact us if you would like a copy) and is also available online on the CyMAL website.
Following the Minister’s speech we were treated to an inspirational talk by the incredible Lowri Morgan. Still only in her mid 30s she has completed several Ironman competitions and ultra marathons, is one of only 80 people in the world to have dived down to the Titanic, and has completed the extreme Amazon ultra expedtion, and, is one of only six people in the whole world to complete the extreme 6633 competition across the Arctic. And she’s an accomplished musician, former teacher, and is now an S4C TV presenter. Earlier I’d chatted to her and said that I found running 4 miles hard enough, never mind 50 miles (her next event) – she said it was the same principle of just putting one foot infront of the other, but over a longer distance. She’s inspired me to push myself to try running 5 miles.
Lorraine King had the task of rounding off the formal part of the launch and she performed her newly written Library Song, written specially for the launch and for the Libraries Fortnight. This is going to be available online, and in Welsh, and I think it’s a fantastic song capturing the heart of what makes library great and inspirational. Teenagers from WICID TV then interviewed each of the key speakers and we all eventually went home, and left the library to its regular users.
As the strategy launch was part of Libraries Fortnight clips and some video footage will be available shortly on the Welsh Libraries YouTube channel. There are videos aleady up there from some of the events from the first week of the fortnight – have a look at what’s been going on in Welsh libraries.
(I would include a picture of the bright cover of Libraries Inspire but I can’t get a jpg from the pdf, and I can’t paste in a screenshot into WordPress. If you know a technical solution let me know!)
UPDATE: the videos are now online! Overview of Treorchy event, the Minister’s speech, Lowri Morgan’s talk, and Lorraine’s library song. These are on Elevator’s channel but will be on the WelshLibraries one shortly I imgaine.