£1.7m to transform Welsh libraries and museums

Cultural Transformation Capital Programme will modernise facilities, improve services and create more sustainable ways of working. 

Over the next two years, this investment of £1.7m will be shared between seven Welsh libraries and museums, several of them focused on tech solutions. 

A futuristic-looking library

For example, £268,682 has been awarded for the remodelling of Ystradgynlais Library in Powys to better meet the needs of its community, with greater emphasis on supported digital access from a trusted community location, reducing the environmental impacts of the building and preventing unnecessary travel. 

There’s also £135,000 for new interactive history digital exhibition displays at Rhondda Heritage Park, and £110,000 for improving energy efficiency at Abergavenny Castle. 

But there will be tech-related benefits even where money isn’t allocated to a specific tech-related, such as the £149,997 for the development of Narberth Library. 

This money will support the regeneration programme transforming Narbeth Old School – a building that has been empty for more than a decade – into a multiuse facility, with a library 58% larger than the current site, in a more visible, central and accessible location in the town centre. 

That can have wide-reaching impact given the vital role played by libraries in enabling people who otherwise have limited access to tech. Many libraries offer services such as computers with internet access, Wi-fi and printing – often for free.  

The Cultural Transformation Capital Programme aims to improve access, partnership working and decarbonisation, as well as to develop more sustainable services. Since 2017, the programme has provided more than 9m for archives, libraries and museums all across Wales.  

Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, says: ‘This round of funding is supporting a wide variety of initiatives, from transforming spaces to be better used by their communities, enabling greater access and participation, whilst also supporting the health and well-being of users, to preserving collections for future generations.’ 

‘The support provided by our local museums, archives and libraries is essential to helping communities in Wales thrive, now more than ever. The Welsh Government is committed to continuing this much needed support for organisations at the heart of Welsh Culture, continuing to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to arts and cultural activities.’ 

In related news, Newport residents will be able to access the use of iPads after the council expanded a lending library scheme. 

Photo by Sylvia Yang


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