Hay-on-Wye Public Library saved!


A strenuous campaign has been waged over the last five years to save the public library in Hay-on-Wye.  Council cuts meant the original library building was sold off and the library itself was incorporated into the new primary school, but with threats as to its future very real.  There was a national, if not an international, outcry.  How could the world’s first Book Town be without one of the most important resources that a civilised society needs? 

A group of dedicated book warriors, with the wonderful acronym HOWLS ( Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters), led by Mike Eccles and Anita Wright, set up a CIC (Community Interest Company) and with the cooperation of Councillor Rachel Powell (Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People,  Culture and Leisure at Powys County Council) worked tirelessly to find a way to keep the library as a centre in Hay. 

Success! A five-year binding contract has been drawn up with the aim of not only maintaining the library without any further reduction in services, but with the plan to make sure it  is a safe and secure hub for on-going community activities and for providing a  space for amongst other things, networks  to tackle issues including food security, energy, housing welfare, mental health and climate change and with friendly help for young people, the elderly and anyone who is baffled when confronted with the fact that so much of modern life has to be accessed on-line.

I was hugely honoured and pleased to be asked to be patron of this campaign. I can’t think of a better more far-reaching cause.