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£2.3m for libraries, museums and archives

kenskates2LIBRARIES, museums and archives in Wales will benefit from over £2.3million Welsh Government funding to develop and enhance their services. The main focus of the funding will be to support museums, archives and libraries to widen access to their services and increase participation in culture, particularly for people living in some of Wales’ most deprived areas, so that more people can benefit from the varied services they offer.

The funding includes £1million to modernise six community libraries in Bala, Brecon, Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Holywell, and Merthyr Tydfil, It will be used to establish the libraries as new community hubs, where customers can access a range of other services such as housing or leisure facilities, as well as an extensive range of library amenities. It will help them to improve their services and attract new users. The remaining funding will go towards broadening the digital offer of museums, archives and libraries – including expanding the National Digital Library Service, which allows customers to access a free e-books and e-zines service, as well as free audio books and free reference sources, wherever and whenever they want. It will also support archive services across Wales to address the challenges of preserving our digital heritage.

Announcing the funding, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “I am pleased that we are providing over £2.3million for our museums, archives and libraries. Breaking down barriers to participation in culture is at the heart of this funding, which is targeted at creating more opportunities for people all across Wales, particularly those who wouldn’t normally engage in culture, to enjoy the fascinating and exciting collections available across the country. “This reiterates our commitment to protecting these important services despite significant cuts to our budget. We recently marked the modernisation of over 100 libraries in Wales, with over £14million invested to achieve this. The additional funding announced today builds on this success and will see even more communities benefit.”

The money will also go towards events and activities at museums, archives and libraries across Wales to attract new users, targeted at Communities First areas, as well as support for initiatives such as Kids in Museums and Every Child a Library Member, to encourage young people to engage with and develop a love of culture. The funding will ensure that Welsh museums, archives and libraries deliver quality services, through accreditation and standards schemes. The funding announcement comes as the Welsh Government publishes its first annual report for Welsh Libraries, which sets out the achievements of the last year and looks at the difference libraries make to people’s lives.

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Jon Coles

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