What is HOWLS?
Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters is a community group set up in 2016 to protect library services in Hay from planned cuts by Powys County Council (CC).
Is Hay Library going to close?
That is a real threat – Powys CC has said it will close 11 of the area’s 17 libraries, and Hay is on the list.
What is Hay Town Council doing about this?
Hay Town Council put forward a proposal to take on the running of the library building, but that offer was rejected by a senior Powys CC officer.
Could the community run the library?
Up to a point – but volunteers cannot guarantee the quality of service provided by a professional librarian and a nationwide library network.
Isn’t the library being relocated to the new school?
The plans for the new building for Hay Primary School include a space for the library. However, Powys CC are refusing to guarantee an ongoing professional library service with the same opening hours or staffing levels in Hay, regardless of its location.
Does Hay need a library?
Yes! It is an invaluable public facility used by hundreds of local people offering books, internet access, professional help and a range of other services. It is a neutral space where various community needs are met, regardless of income, age or background. Powys CC has a statutory duty to provide an adequate library service according to the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 that states that local authorities must:
- provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all people that would like to use it
- lend books and other printed material free of charge for those who live, work or study in the area
- promote the service
Is Hay Library used much?
Very much so. In 2015/16, 17,605 people visited the library and 19,053 items were loaned, even though the library is currently only open 3.5 days a week.
What is the current position of Powys CC on this issue?
In a recent email to Hay Town Council, Councillor Graham Brown (Cabinet Member, Powys CC) said: ‘In the absence of alternative proposals, the library service will continue to work towards relocating the library to the new primary school when it is completed, and will need to reduce staffing and opening hours in order to provide the service within the available budget.’
How can I help?
As a community, we need to actively fight the proposed cuts and ensure we have a professionally staffed, vibrant library that is open for more hours, not less. There are lots of ways you can help, including using the library service, writing to Powys CC, and helping out with the campaign. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information and updates, and please come to the drop-in and/or the public meeting.
Date for the diary: Public meeting about the future of Hay Library, Monday 30th January 2017, 7.30pm at Hay Parish Hall, Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye. Also a drop-in from 3.30pm. Please save the date and share this with others. This is the community’s opportunity to find out more information, ask questions, share ideas and stories.