Llandysul Library – Where are we?

****UPDATE on 20/01/16*****

There’s a special meeting of the Special Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Committee
 at 9.30am on Friday the 22/1/16.

Come along to support Llandysul library and listen to the discussion in the Council chamber at Ceredigion County Offices, Penmorfa, Aberaeron, SA46 0PA.

Links to:
Agenda
Report

****************************************************************

Here is where I think that we are in the fight to keep Llandysul Library open.

This is all my own opinion. There is no committee running this campaign, just the good will of the community.  Other people will have different views.

Petition

On Tuesday 12 January at the protest before the Council meeting at the Penmorfa Offices a group of us handed in a petition of over 600 names to the Council Leader  Ellen ap Gwynn .  The petition had been signed by people from near and far on the internet via Change.org and in the shops in and around Llandysul.  It was a valiant turn out as the weather was atrocious. This was reported the next day in the Cambrian News.

Image from the Cambiran News

http://cambrian-news.co.uk/article.cfm?id=101602&headline=Petition%20handed%20over%20in%20last-ditch%20bid%20to%20save%20library&sectionIs=news&searchyear=current

Consultation

The Council’s consultation closed  on Monday 4th January.  Just to remind you, these are the option which Ceredigion County Council gave the residents of Ceredigion.

  1. the closure of Llandysul library and reduction of the mobile library fleet by axeing one large and one small vehicle;
  2. the closure of Llandysul and one of either Aberaeron, Cardigan or Lampeter libraries;

Although they have not had time to collate the consultation yet, the Tivyside has reported that in the meeting on the 12th January Councillor Dafydd Edwards mentioned some of the early results.

“Out of just over 400 responses, just 42 favoured option 1 and 90 favoured option 2 while 319 disagreed with the options.”

It will be interesting to see the full results of the Consultation and will it be ignored or will they listen to the residents of Ceredigion?

Meeting

I’ve also been to a meeting arranged by Councillor Peter Evans which involved Mr Arwyn Morgan Head of of ICT and Customer  and Mr Gareth Griffiths the Library Service Manager.  This was a small meeting. Mr Morgan and Mr Griffiths are employees of the Council not elected officials.  I wanted to listen to them and see if I could understand their figures. But they failed to bring the exact figures to run the building with them, they said that they would send them on – still waiting. I still only know what we were been told at the beginning that it costs £25,398 to run the building including the rates which are £5,543 and that excludes the wages. No breakdown.

Mr Morgan was determined that the building would be closing even telling us that Dysgu Bro would be leaving at the end of March even though the decision to close the library has not been taken.

He was not willing to consider cutting hours. He was not willing to move librarians around the county to facilitate this. His only concern was to close the library and the cash office then the costs of running those services would no longer show on his department’s accounts. The building would be ‘empty’ and it would then be handled by the Estates department.

What does that mean?  Will the building be empty?

Well, as we know the Council leases the building from the Church and the council have to keep the building in good repair. The Church has a hall there which they use regularly and that is included in the lease. The Police rent a section of the building for £1,800 which includes heating and electricity. So, Estates will still have to pay oil, electricity, insurance, interior and exterior maintenance costs and rates.

So what will the overall savings to the Council be by closing the library and cash office?
Answers on a postcard please, addressed to the head of Estates, who is about to get a new set of bills on their 2016-2017 ledger.

It all sounds a bit like juggling to me.

Mr Morgan said that a group of volunteers could run the library. He charges the volunteer run library at New Quay £1,280 per annum for using the Council library service, including the software licence and the broadband.  He said that we could keep the computers in the library and the shelves.  He also said that the library does not have to be in that building. Anyone got space for the library in their building in Llandysul – hopefully at zero rent?

Another option which he offered was that if the Community pays the service costs the library service pays 50% of the staffing costs. I wasn’t sure that I understood this option very well. But it sounds very expensive to me. Probably looking at an annual cost of £30,000 to £40,000 for the status quo. Any philanthropic millionaires out there?

Mr Morgan said that the timetable now is that the Council will discuss the Consultation and Llandysul Library in February.  If they vote in favour of closing the library Councillor Peter Evans could ‘call it in’ (which I think means that the department involved have to review their recommendation). Mr Morgan said that he expected Councillor Evans to call in the decision and then went on to say that he expected/hoped that in March the vote to go in favour of closing the library. At which point he has to give staff 90 days notice and then he can close the library – probably mid-June.

I’m just going to repeat part of that:

Mr Morgan said that he expected Councillor Evans to call in the decision and then went on to say that he expected  / hoped that in March the vote to go in favour of closing the library.

The reason why I’ve typed expected  /  hoped in bold is that I cannot remember exactly what he said.  But, what I think he meant was and I’m sorry if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick is that to him there is only one outcome and that is to close the library and cash office and get them off his accounts so that he can show that his department has made the required savings.  As much as Councillor Evans and many other Councillors will object to the closing of the library they are at the mercy of their accountants and the savage cuts which are being made.

To me, it also shows that whatever the calling in procedure is, it is not going to be an independent assessment of the situation. It will look at the numbers and that’s it. It will not consider the impact on communities who use the services.  Will there be an Equality Impact Assessment?

Democracy is dead, long live the accountants and bankers!

People are asking me where are we with the library? I think we’re up the Teifi in our coracle without a paddle. I am at loss as to where we go from here but…

Ymlaen â ni! 

National Libraries day 2016

On the up side and I have to think that there is something which we can do, even if it’s being a mosquito which keeps biting:

it’s National Libraries Day on Saturday 6th February.

We should celebrate our library and the building it’s in – whilst we can.

www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk

What can we do?

Story telling corner? Poetry reading?

The idea of National Libraries Day is to get more people to join the library and use it.  It’s never too late and it would help show that people do want Llandysul Library to remain open.

Can you help me do this? 

Please contact me via email hanesllandysul@gmail.com.

 

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Closing the library discriminates against every person living in Llandysul and the surrounding area

A library is inclusive.

What I mean is that everyone can go there and use the facilities. Young and old; Rich and poor; Able bodied and disabled; Religious or not.  We can go in and choose a book – to learn from, to help us relax, to see a different world, expand our imaginations, to solve a problem.

Council Leader Ellen ap Gwyn has said that Llandysul cannot complain about lack of investment as £30 million is being spent on a new school.  However the vast majority of the community cannot use the facilities in the school. According to the 2011 Census, Llandysul Town Ward was occupied by 1,439 people.  327 of those people were under 19 years old.  Anyone over 20, that is 1,112 people will not be able to use the new school facilities.  We cannot join the history class or science lessons.  We cannot use the computer suite and look up jobs or services or work on our family tree.  However, we can go to the library and read the books and use the computers.

I believe that what Ceredigion County Council are proposing is discriminatory.

The decision to close our library discriminates against every person living in our rural community.  All 1,439 Llandysullians can use the library but only 327 can use the school.  (I haven’t added the population figures for the whole of the Llandysul community area, or indeed for Pont-Tyweli and further afield, but it gives a picture).

I do understand that cuts have to be made.  Did the Council consider cutting opening hours in all the libraries in the County?  Evenly and fairly.  Closing Llandysul Library would save £40,000. Could £40,000 be saved across the library service as a whole in Ceredigion?

If the Council go ahead with the closure of Llandysul Library, we will lose:

  • Free loan of Welsh and English Books
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Computers with Internet access, printing, photocopying and WiFi.
  • The expertise of experienced, qualified Librarians

 

Could Ceredigion County Council be acting illegally?

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals thinks so. Please take a moment to read this article from the Guardian.

Petition

WE have an online petition with Change.org asking Ceredigion County Council not to close the library. Click here, if you would like to sign and show your support.

Join the Protest!

151215library-protest

Join us on Tuesday 12th January, 2016 at the Ceredigion County Offices, Penmorfa Aberaeron to protest at the closure of Llandysul Library.

The meeting begins at 10am so we will meet outside the main entrance at 9.15am and welcome the Councillors as they arrive.

Closing Llandysul Library building

Last night, Monday 30th November 2015, there was a public meeting at Tysul Hall about the proposed closure of Llandysul Library. Present  from Ceredigion County Councill were the Llandysul Councillor Peter Evans and Councillor Dafydd Edwards who is a member of the Cabinet and responsible for Financial Services, Information Technology and Customer Services, Housing and Planning.

Over 100 people attended the meeting, with members of Llandysul Community Council and the AM Elin Jones in the audience.  We thought that we were there to discuss the closure of the library but, it turns out that we were discussing the closure of the whole building which includes the adult eduction room Dysgu Bro where computer and Welsh classes are held, the closure of the Local History Society’s display area the closure of the council payment office and of course the closure of the Library.

These are my notes from the evening, not minutes. So they may not be completely accurate but it will give you a taste of what was discussed.

IMAG0978IMAG0972The building is owned by the Church who have leased it to Ceredigion County Council for 125 years.

The County Council:

  • pay a ‘peppercorn’ rent, that is zero – on the condition that they maintain the building.
  • The Church has its own hall at the back of the building.
  • The lease does not allow any commercial activity in the building only community activity.
  • There is a small extension to the building which is rented by the Police. This is also under scrutiny by the Police Commissioner but not a part of this discussion.

We were not given exact figures but the cost of running the whole building was said to be about £40,000 – consisting of £15,000 wages and miscellaneous costs, and £25,000 business rates – the business rates being 167% of the actual costs of running the service which is a ludicrous situation.

Questions and comments from the floor:

Q: Why not use the new school library?

A: If it were possible it would only be in the evening.  We have to consider the security of the children.

Q: In Cardigan the owner of the building where the library is situated has said he would not charge rent for 5 years. Will that help Llandysul?

A: It’s made the situation worse.  The Library in Cardigan needs to go to a smaller space in a council owned property so that there is less business rates to pay and not rent.

Q: Have the council considered cutting hours in all the libraries?

Q: Why is Llandysul consistently being singled out for cuts?

No clear answers here.  Every town is having cuts. The council have to cut 20% from all services and this was being applied evenly over all services. So why not cut every library evenly by 20% rather than singling some out to be removed? This would mean Llandysul would have to find £8,000 savings. If the business rates can’t be changed, the only costs that can be cut are the £15,000 wages and miscellaneous i.e. 53% of these costs.

Q: Has the Council negotiated to reduce the Business Rates for the library?

No. Why not? There would be no rates payable if it was run as a charity by volunteers on the same basis at it is being run now, so why does the Council have to pay more than annual running costs (£15,000) in rates (£24,000)? Elin Jones, AM was there and she was asked to raise the matter with Welsh Government to change the law so that libraries do not have to pay business rates.

Q: Could the university libraries and private libraries in Aberystwyth and Lampeter be used by the public instead?

A: The university in Lampeter was approached but the talks came to nothing.  We were then able to get a grant to do the necessary work on the existing library in Lampeter.

Comment from the floor: So now that library has to stay open for at least 5 years or else you would have to pay back the grant.

A: Correct.

The meeting continued like this for about 1.5 hours.

The bottom line was that the Council would help the community to form a group to run the building.  The group would have to become a charity then they would not have to pay business rates. The same group, or maybe another group could become volunteer librarians and run the library using the Ceredigion Library Services, as has happened in New Quay.

Comment from the floor:  The Church would need to be consulted and the lease should remain with the Council, meaning they would still need to maintain the building.

IMAG0971

What can we do?

Fill in the Council Consultation available online and copies in the library.  The closing date for feedback is 5pm on the 4th of January 2016.
Please note, the Consultation really does give two options both of which say Close Llandysul Library. We need to show them that there is a third option.

Sign the Petition – in the shops in Llandysul and online.

Write to your Representatives – Community Council; Ceredigion County Councillors, Carmarthenshire County Councillors and  your AM and your MP. Write to your representative even if you live outside of Llandysul or indeed Ceredigion.

Finally, we, as a community need to prepare ourselves for the closure of the library building and all its services. However there is an opportunity for volunteers to step in and take on the challenge. 

Would you help form a charity and run a community building?

Would you help in the library?  Be a librarian?

Are you good with finances?  Could you be the Treasurer?

Can you fundraise?

IF so, contact Councillor Peter Evans:
peter.evans3@ceredigion.gov.uk

Er Cof / In Remembrance

Dw i gyda grwp bach, wedi bod yn gweithio yn galed iawn am y mis diwethfa ar yr arddangosfa newydd o’r Cymdeithas Hanes Lleol Llandysul a’r Fro.  I ddweud y gwir, dw i a’r gweddill y grwp wedi bod yn ymchwilio am dros dwy flynedd am y dynion a genethod o Landysul a aeth i wasanaethu yn ystod y Rhyfel Mawr.

A dyma ni, amser yr arddangosfa. Rydyn ni wedi darganfod bron 400 o bobl aeth i’r rhyfel o’r ardal.  Dw i’n siwr mae mwy!

ER COF AM EIN HARWYR O’R RHYFEL BYD CYNTAF

Cyflwynir yr Arddangosfa i bawb a wasanaethodd o Landysul a’r Cylch

Dydd Sadwrn 15 Tachwedd.

Bydd Cyflwyniad yng Ngwesty’r Porth, Llandysul am 10.30yb, ac i ddilyn, cyfle i weld yr Arddangosfa yn y Llyfrgell o 11.30yb-2yp


I have worked with a group, very hard over the last month on the new exhibition of Llandysul and District Local History Society. In fact, I and the rest of the group have been researching for over two years about the men and women from Llandysul who went on to serve in the Great War.

Here we are then, the exhibition. We have found nearly 400 people from the area went to war. I’m sure there are more!

Why not come along and find out.

Opening on Saturday, 15 November 2014.

In Remembrance of our WW1 Heroes & Heroines

An Exhibition dedicated to all those who served from Llandysul and the surrounding areas

There will be a Presentation in the Porth Hotel, Llandysul at 10.30am, followed by a viewing of the Exhibition at the Library (lift available) from 11.30am-2pm.


15/11/14 Opening of the Llandysul Local History Society WW1 Exhibition

The many faces of Llandysul

These are the many faces of the Llandysul Tractor Run, which took place last Sunday morning. I just love how cute the all look!

The tractors, or possibly their drivers were sponsored and the money is going to the Wales Air Ambulance and the Gwyl Wledig Tysul (Tysul Country Fair).

Fordson Major

Fordson Major

Massey Ferguson

Massey Ferguson

David Brown Livedrive

David Brown Livedrive

Fordson Major

A Fordson Major

Tractor

Quite a stern face

Lots of Massey Fergusons

Lots of Massey Fergusons

More tractors

More tractors

old tractor

Massey Ferguson

Llandysul’s Smallest House

In Conwy, in North Wales, there is a very popular tourist attraction called the “Smallest House in Wales”. As I remember it, the house is part of a terrace on the harbour and is painted red. The inside was brown – it must be about 35 years since I went inside, so I don’t remember much. Best to visit it yourself, this is the website: http://thesmallesthouseingreatbritain.co.uk/

Why do I mention this? Well, once upon a time, Llandysul, or more correctly, Pont-Tyweli, there was also the “Smallest House in Wales” and I think that if it had survived it would have been smaller than the building in Conwy.

picture of small house with tenant.

“Ty Phillips Bach” with Mr Phillips,Pont-Tyweli, Llandysul – Smallest House. This picture is from the Llandysul & District Local History Society Collection.

The house was known as Ty Phillips Bach (Phillips’ Small House).  Mr Phillips (pictured) was a painter and decorator and had a shed next door in which he kept his paint. This shed was apparently bigger than his house.   The photograph was taken in 1945, and Mr Phillips subsequently died in the Public Assistance Institution, formally Cardigan Workhouse.   Local people remember playing in the empty house.   It was demolished in the late 1960 or early 1970s.

Today, you can still see the location of the house.  If you walk from the Pwerdy (Powerhouse Community and Arts Centre), facing the Half Moon Inn, there is a  wall on your right.  Below the wall is a steep bank, and then the rapids of the River Teifi. As you walk along the pavement, follow the wall,  you will come to a break in the walk and that was the location of the house.  There is also a lilac tree which must have been planted after the house was demolished I think but I wonder if it is to commemorate the house and Mr Phillips.

Picture of the site of the house.

Former location of the “smallest house in Wales”.

Frank Lloyd Wright – The Welsh Connection

Last Wednesday, 9th April was the anniversary of the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, the eminent American architect.  I had a phone call from the BBC last week asking what we knew about Frank Lloyd Wright’s other Anna Lloyd Jones.  Sadly, not much, although after an email and a chance meeting at Theatr Mwldan I got to know a lot more from Eileen Curry.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother was Anna Lloyd Jones, and she and her family lived in Blaenralltddu, a mile or so from Rhydowen.  When she was 5 the family emigrated to the States, leaving from the port of Cardigan in 1844.

House name "Blaenralltddu"

Anna’s family were members of the Unitarian Chapel at Llwynrhydowen and her father Richard was a Unitarian lay preacher and by all accounts a real bible thumper.  He was also a renowned hatter who is said to have got his customers to stand on his hats to test their strength!

It is likely that because of the faith of the family and their liberal politics that they upset the local landowner at Alltyrodyn Mansion.   It seems the final straw came when he ran his hounds through their garden.

Richard, Mary and their seven children left Wales and initially settled in Utica, before moving to Milwaukee in Wisconsin and then on to the village of Spring Green, Wisconsin.  What an incredibly hard decision to make.

Anna Lloyd Jones became a school teacher in America and she met William Carey Wright, a musician and itinerant preacher.  They married in 1866.  Frank was born a year later.  He was christened Frank Lincoln Wright, but changed it to Frank Lloyd Wright (in honour of his mother’s family) when his father walked out of the marriage in 1885.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Welsh roots ran through his architectural work.  The house he built for himself in Wisconsin is called Taliesin (after the 6th Century Welsh  bard and poet).  Later in life he built a second home in Arizona called Taliesin West.

Many of the modernist homes he built still had a hearth as a centrepiece – just as the traditional Cardiganshire cottages would have had.

So all this was passed onto Carwyn Jones at BBC Wales Today, but he still needed someone to say it to camera…10 seconds of fame coming up then!  Luckily there’s also a real architectural expert.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-26964709