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

Inclusive book stock

Rainbow coloured hand with thumb up

Image CC-0 from Pixabay

I recall from my days as a library studies student and working in libraries that generally library staff are very good at being inclusive, in all areas of their work, but definitely in terms of stock collection.

I’ve just read a really comprehensive blog post written for the CILIP blog all about improving LGBTQ* provision in many types of libraries (don’t worry if you don’t know what all the letters and the *asterisk indicate, all is explained in the blog post). Do read it, even if you don’t have responsibility for stock collection. And you might want to read one of the ‘book doctor’ articles in the Guardian, recommending reads for a questioning  teenage boy.

Posted in Academic libraries, CILIP, Customer service, Equal opportunities, Libraries, Literacy, Public libraries, Reading, School libraries, UK | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cardiff Central Library goes digi-tastic!

Row of tablet devices in library

Tablet bar. Reproduced with permission. Copyright Jemma Francis

Here’s a guest post on the new digital floor at Cardiff Central library, from my colleague Jemma Francis.

There was a buzz in Cardiff city centre last Thursday (30th July 2015) with the re-opening of the revamped Cardiff Central Library. I was invited to the launch event and joined the tour which took us around the new council services advice hub and the state-of-the-art digital floor that have been developed at the library.

The Welsh Government (through MALD) provided a grant to Cardiff Council to part fund the refurbishment. They are one of the grant recipients in 2015-16 of the Community Learning Library Programme which is a £1 million investment by the Welsh Government to modernise public libraries in Wales .

Large screen display on library mezzanine floor.

Digital wall. Reproduced with permission. Copyright Jemma Francis.

The new digital floor has some terrific features including a tablet bar, digital wall, digital creative suite, children’s media zone and a gaming area. Oh and a 3D printer! This might be the first one in a Welsh public library – please let us know if there are others.

I enjoyed talking to colleagues from various agencies at the launch event and it was exciting hearing about their plans to use the new digital floor to run coding clubs and other digital inclusion activities. There will also be gaming tournaments for children and young people to get involved in.

What really came across at the event for me was the enthusiasm of the library staff for the fantastic opportunities this new digital technology will create for learning and creativity. I can’t wait to see what they’re planning next!

The new council hub at the library delivers co-location of council services, enabling Cardiff residents to access several services in a single city- centre location.

To find out more about the library and the new digital floor and council advice hub visit the Cardiff Central Library Facebook page, the council web pages or see the press article in Wales Online.

Posted in Buildings, Digital things, Grants, Libraries, MALD, Public libraries, Technology, Wales, Welsh Government | Tagged | 1 Comment

New links for MALD information

Following the name change of CyMAL to MALD (Museums, Archives and Libraries Division), the web pages have undergone a revision. Old links no longer work and I will try to update the links on my pages, and perhaps the last few months of posts.

Here are the new links:

Use this page for funding and bursary information, and this page for training opportunities.

Posted in CyMAL, Information, Libraries, Libraries Inspire, MALD, Wales, Welsh Government | Tagged | Leave a comment