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Updated COVID-19 Measures

We continue to follow the latest Welsh Government advice and to prioritise the health and safety of our customers and volunteers. With the latest changes, with effect from Monday 28th February 2022 the following measures have changed:

Face Coverings – Wearing a face covering is now a personal choice. You are welcome to continue to wear a face covering / mask while visiting our library.

Hand Sanitising We will continue to provide hand sanitiser for those customers who wish to use this.

Social Distancing – It is no longer a legal requirement to keep a 2 metre distance from other people. The one way system has also been removed.

Track & Trace – We will no longer need to capture every visitor’s details for Track & Trace purposes. Computer users’ details are tracked via the Netloan system and events/clubs will continue to be bookable and we’ll capture customers’ details in this way for those who stay for a longer period in the library.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Trustees of Taibach Community Library hereby give notice that an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Taibach Community Library charity will take place on Thursday 3rd March 2022 at 6pm.

This meeting is currently planned to be held online via Microsoft Teams.

The meeting is open to members of the Taibach Community Library charity only.

If you wish to become a charity member and attend the meeting, to simplify the process you can purchase a ticket which will give you admittance to the meeting and as part of this you’ll sign up to become a charity member at the same time. If you wish to purchase a ticket please visit www.taibachlibrary.org.uk/agm/rsvp

The Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts can be accessed here:

Annual Report and Accounts 2020-2021.pdf

Christmas closure

We are now closed for the Christmas period and will re-open in the new year, on Tuesday 4th January at 10am. On behalf of the trustees of Taibach Community Library, we’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all our customers, volunteers and supporters!

UPDATE: The library will not be able to open on Tuesday 4th January, due to volunteer illness. We’ll instead re-open on Thursday 6th January at 10am.

Appeal for volunteers – December 2021


We are urgently seeking to recruit new volunteers to enable us to continue offering our service to the local community.

Many of our library users are older or vulnerable, have no mode of transport and would be lost without our library on their doorstep. The recent pandemic and lockdowns have left many people feeling isolated, and so now we are open again, they rely on our service.

Unfortunately, the library currently has a shortage of volunteers and so we are looking for people who can commit just 3 hours per week to volunteering at Taibach Community Library as a volunteer librarian.

We’re especially looking for people to help cover our Monday afternoon 13.00-16.00 time slot. If volunteers cannot be found we will unfortunately have to close the library during this time slot starting in January 2022.

We are also looking for volunteers for a Saturday 10.00-13.00 to work on a 4 week rota basis, to give some of our already deeply committed volunteers some time off, as they’re currently covering multiple shifts per week.

We also need more people in the team who we can call upon, sometimes at short notice to cover shifts due to volunteer sickness. This is not a necessity and if you are not available to help at other times this will not be a problem, our priority is getting the Monday afternoon and Saturday morning slots covered first and foremost.

Full training will be provided to successful applicants. Our volunteers always work in pairs, we have detailed guidance notes on how to operate the library computer systems and till, and there’ll be someone you can contact at all times during your shift should you need any extra help or support.

Please be advised that our library is not exceptionally busy, but there is always something to be done, whether that’s creating an eye catching display of new books, keeping the library room in a clean and tidy condition or taking on extra responsibilities such as designing posters for our upcoming events – we’ll make sure you’re never bored ☺️

Everyone who works in and is involved with the running of the library is a volunteer. No one is paid, and we all give up a great deal of our time to ensure that the communities of Taibach, Goytre and Margam have a library service that they can rely on. We’re a friendly bunch of people, and we even arrange regular nights out as a team when circumstances permit.

If you can help us out, or know someone who can, please get in touch. You can call Christine, the library coordinator during opening hours on 01639 883831 for a chat about the role, pop in during opening hours to find out more, or visit our website at www.taibachlibrary.org.uk/volunteer for further details on the role and to apply online today. If we think you’ll be a good match, we’ll get in touch to arrange a short interview.

We need people who are committed, are comfortable using a computer (although training will be provided), are good at dealing with people, are able to use their own initiative (once trained up), are genuinely interested in keeping the library open and above all are reliable and dependable.

We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Change to opening hours effective 06/08/21

We have trialled our increased opening hours for a few weeks, and unfortunately due to very little demand and our current shortage of volunteers, with immediate effect we will no longer open on a Friday. All other opening hours remain the same and can be found below:

Kids Club

We’re super excited to announce that following the recent Welsh Government update, we’re able to bring back our popular Kids Club!   It will take place weekly on Saturdays between 10.00 – 13.00 and also on Tuesdays (during school holidays) between 13.00 – 15.00.   Kids Club will start up again on Saturday 17th July 2021 and then run on Tuesdays and Saturdays up until 31st August.

Places will be limited to due maximum building capacity. Where possible we ask that only one parent/guardian accompanies their child/children.

To allow us to meet demand and to enable as many children as possible to attend, we’ll initially be offering one hour per-booked slots.

Slots can be booked by calling us on 01639 883831 during opening hours.

Walk-ins will only be available if spaces are available.

Search and filter the online catalogue

We’ve had some queries lately about searching the online catalogue for books at Taibach Library.

Our volunteer Luke has put together this short video explaining how to filter the online catalogue to see the books we have on our shelves 👇

You can currently order books to pick up as part of our Select & Collect service. Click here to find out more.

History of Libraries in the Port Talbot District

Photo from Neath & Port Talbot Life by David Roberts

The Cambrian newspaper for July 11th, 1902, carries an interesting first reference to the establishment of a free library in the town, stating that “Mr Carnegie, of millionaire fame, has been busy as of late with grants of money for the establishment of free libraries throughout the land. He has now got as far as Bridgend, and now someone suggests that Aberavon should make a representation to be included in his free library net, as if Aberavon’s rates already were not more than one could bear. Apart from a site, and the cost of building upon it, there is the establishment and maintenance charges, which would mean a 2d or 3d rate. Aberavon’s rates are now about the highest in the country, and it is time to put the ‘drag’ on unless the town is to be denuded of its population”. (Ironically, press statements today place local rates as the highest in the country, so that history does appear to repeat itself.) However, it was not Aberavon, but Margam Urban District Council which was to take up the challenge. The principle instigator was Cllr. William Lewis, J.P. (1863-1941) who was to become the first Labour Chairman of the council in 1911. A dedicated, caring and well-read man, he wrote to Andrew Carnegie to solicit his aid in establishing a free public library in the district. He also appealed to Miss Emily C. Talbot for her support and the land to build upon. He was eventually successful on both counts, but initial discussions and meetings in 1902 were not fruitful. There was some local opposition, and proximity of the successful Victoria Institute added doubts as to the necessity of another library. Two public meetings on the subject were held prior to the adoption of the Public Libraries Act by the Margam Council on the 14th March, 1904.

        Long-drawn-out discussions and further council meetings took place before any substantial moves forward during 1911-12. Miss Talbot generously provided a site in Taibach, on the main road near the east bank of the Ffrwdwyllt. The conveyance and deed of gift stipulated that the land could never be used for any other purpose than that of a library and residence for a librarian or caretaker. Miss Talbot, as donor of the sites for several pubic buildings in the area, had similar clauses in all relevant documents, ensuring that such land or buildings were for public use in perpetuity. Miss Talbot also gave the sum of £100 towards the purchase of books. The Carnegie U.K. Trust provided £2,500 towards the cost of the building, with the Council raising further funds through rates.

        Plans for the new library, in the classical style, were drawn up by John Cox, the District Surveyor. Built of dressed Pennant stone, with facings, balustrades and portico of Bath stone, the building work was carried out by local contractor Vaughan John, at the cost of £2,306/17/6d. Work stated on the site in June 1914, and Councillor Lewis laid the foundation stone at a ceremony on the 18th July, 1914, with a large and enthusiastic crowd present.  He was presented with a handsome inscribed ceremonial gavel made especially for the occasion. The contract for the furnishings and fittings was undertaken by John Nicholas, the old-established Port Talbot Sawmills and Joiners Works. Completion should have been by the summer of 1915, but was delayed until June 1916. The opening ceremony was performed by Councillor William Lewis. The commodious building comprised an entrance hall, juvenile library, reference and a magazine room, and a closed access lending library downstairs. A ladies’ reading room, librarians’ office and large lecture hall were upstairs. The lending library did not open until January 1917. The Chief Librarian was David S.J. Hughes (1875-1957), a native of North Wales with family origins in Brecon. He married Violet Preston, daughter of Captain James Preston of Richmond House, Taibach. The Librarian’s first report refers to the supply of books by Mr Day for stocking the library, and tabulation being completed for circulating the books. In 1921 the Borough of Aberavon merged with Margam Urban District Council, and within three years the new Borough Libraries department had taken up responsibility for part-time libraries in the old institutes at Bryn and Cwmavon.

In its early years the lending library at Taibach was operated by closed access. This means that readers could only choose books from an Indicator Board displaying the titles available, or the choice dictated by individual librarians. Books were issued to readers by means of a small serving hatch in the wall of the lending library. In 1928 the Council decided that readers should be given their own choice, but it was not until 1931 that the Open Access system was introduced. David Hughes retired as Borough Librarian in 1941, having introduced many improvements to the library service. He was succeeded by his deputy, David Eaton (1887-1976), a native of Cwmavon who had joined the staff in 1926. He took an active part in local cultural affairs, became Secretary of the Port Talbot W.E.A. and a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. He is best remembered as an enthusiastic local historian, writing numerous articles and giving lectures. He was President of the Port Talbot Historical Society from 1959 until his death. David Eaton was responsible for establishing a local history collection at the Central Library, encouraging local historians and others to donate books of Welsh and local interest. One of those early donors was the late J. T. Jones, MBE, and later deposits came from the personal libraries of Martin Phillips, James O’Brien, Lemul Jones and Moses Thomas.

        During the Second World War the local libraries played an important part in the social and educational life of the town. Book issues increased considerably whilst Mr Eaton and his staff in their Civil Defence roles had to take turns at fire watching at the main library. In his report for November 1940 Mr Eaton commented that “Owing to the uncertain movement of troops, I am very chary in allowing them to join the library. Many books have been lost as soldiers are neglecting to return them to the library prior to leaving town.” Provisions were later made for the loan of books to service personnel stationed locally. In 1942 numerous unwanted books were given to the library as part of the war salvage campaign. Most of these were to be pulped for paper salvage. However, some rate and antiquarian volumes were saved, notably a 1637 book of Bible commentaries by the Rev. Gervase Babington, bearing the handwritten name of Sir Leoline Jenkins (1625-85), from whose library it may have originated. David Eaton retired as Head Librarian in December, 1951, greatly respected for his excellent achivements.

        Miss Eirlys Richards (later Mrs Jock Martin) succeeded Mr Eaton as Borough Librarian. Miss Richards had worked for many years in the libraries department, latterly as Deputy Librarian. She continued to improve the services offered. Unfortunately, her tenure was blighted by two issues. Firstly, the Library Association threatened to blacklist the Authority for its salary grading and non-appointment of a Chartered librarian, which tainted Port Talbot for many years. More importantly and sadly, Miss Richards was responsible for destroying a part of the local history collection at Taibach Library, by cleaning out a storeroom of early local newspapers, together with other important local material, which was consigned to the dustbins. Her name was anathema to local historians for years. Miss Richards retired on her marriage in 1956, after 34 years service. Her successor was Miss Dorothy Mainwaring, B.A., A.L.A., the daughter of Councillor Tal. Mainwaring. Miss Mainwaring was the first Chartered Librarian to be appointed as Chief Librarian in Port Talbot. During her term as Librarian, she encouraged the Council to consider building new branches, stating in one report of 1957 that “The arrangement of books and shelving at the Central Library is particularly poor. The need for a new Central Library and Branch Library is vital in a town of Port Talbot’s size and growing importance.” Miss Mainwaring was popular with staff and readers, and sought to introduce several improvements to local libraries. Sadly she died at an early age in 1958.

        The last borough Librarian of Port Talbot was Donald Penning, F.L.A. (1913-86); born in Liverpool, he spent his formative years on the Isle of Wight, becoming a Chartered Librarian in 1942 whilst serving with the R.A.F. He served overseas in India, Australia and Burma. He was considered by many to be somewhat idiosyncratic, but nevertheless, during his management of the libraries Mr Penning succeeded in building one of the best library services in Wales. He was Librarian from 1959 to 1974. During this period Port Talbot saw new libraries built at Sandfields, Baglan and Cwmavon, with a book fund which grew from £4,000 in 1959-60 to £20,000 in 1973-74. Changes and improvements were made to Taibach Library, and suggestions were made in 1959 to appoint a Reference Librarian. This post was filled for many years by Mrs Gwerfyl Fowler as Reference Assistant, but it was not until 1967 that the first Reference Librarian was appointed in the person of Miss Sally Roberts, B.A. (Hons.), A.L.A. Unfortunately, this key post was recently deleted from the library establishment. The borough libraries gave a great boost to local cultural life during this period, organising Literary Dinners, poetry readings, art and local history exhibitions, children’s quizzes and storey hours, and other popular events. The library was also closely linked to the formation of the Port Talbot Society of Arts in 1970, the Port Talbot Literary Group and two successful art festivals in 1972 and 1974. Donald Penning retired from his post with the onset of local government reorganisation in 1974.

Free eResources

If you are a member of Neath Port Talbot Libraries, you can borrow eBooks, eAudiobookseMagazines and eComics from the comfort of your own home.

Not a library member? Find out how to Join the library 

Free eBooks and eAudiobooks

With the best range of eContent since digital lending began, BorrowBox provides a wider range of eBooks and eAudiobooks than ever before.  The selection of international bestselling titles is constantly expanding to offer you the content you want.

The BorrowBox app is elegant, intuitive and simple to operate and enjoy, with a superior user experience where you can access all eBooks and eAudiobooks in one place – one log in, one site.

Browse eBooks and eAudiobooks

Free eMagazines and eComics

There are hundreds of top magazine and comic titles available to download onto your computer or mobile device.

How to download eMagazines and eComics

  • Create a RBdigital account using your Neath Port Talbot library card. (if you are not a library member, find out how to join)
  • Log in to your account on the Neath Port Talbot RBdigital catalogue.
  • Browse the available magazines or Comics and Graphic Novels.
  • Click on the ‘Checkout Now’ button below the cover.
  • You can now read the magazine or Comics and Graphic Novels
  • RBdigital user guide

Browse eMagazines and eComics

Other eResources

NPT Libraries also provide access to a number of other online resources which you may be interested in. These include:

  • ZipTales(Interactive stories for children) – Go to www.ziptales.co.uk/library and click on the logo for Neath Port Talbot Libraries. Then follow the prompts and log in with your library card number.
  • Ancestry (explore your Family Tree) – Whilst we are closed you can access Ancestry Library Edition from home. Follow this link, log in with your card number and pin code, and then click on the ancestry link.

Centerprise International supports landmark library

Thanks to the combined works of Centerprise International and Lenovo, the historic Taibach Community library’s technological standing has improved.

Centerprise International is revered for its work in the public sector, supporting many charities and causes. They boast a track record of working with local government to improve surrounding communities, in this case, their efforts were facilitated by Neath Port Talbot council.

The library had seen a dramatic decrease in attendance due to a lack of sufficient IT equipment as many of their computing resources were outdated. On the 22nd of January 2020, Centerprise International donated 5 desktop Lenovo PCs with Windows 10 installed, alongside 5 of the latest Lenovo monitors. Rhydian Sainsbury, Client Director of Centerprise’s Welsh faction, stated, “We think access to the information not only through the traditional method of books, but also the more modern method of the internet, is a vital offering that libraries can provide to communities.”

Founded in 1916, the library has been a staple of the area for over 100 years. In 2014, the volunteer-run service was in danger of being closed due to local authority cuts; the Taibach Community Library Charity was subsequently formed in a bid to get enough donations to prevent it. “We are tremendously grateful to these organisations for supplying them to use.” Said Trustee, Alyson Moore, “We can offer a service now to the people of the local area.” She added.

There is hope that the establishment will see a rise in customers as a result of their technological upgrade.

Celebrating four years of Taibach Community Library

Four years ago today Taibach Library became Taibach Community Library after it was handed over by the council to a small group of volunteers who formed the charity.

Over this time, over 30 different people from all ages and backgrounds have given up their own time freely and willingly to open up the Library on a daily basis, come rain or shine!

The library has been open for almost 800 sessions (AM or PM) since May 2014 and only 16 of these have we been unable to open due to volunteer sickness or other unforeseen circumstances.

We’ve held various different events and activities, such as coffee mornings, quiz nights, family history research sessions, photography classes, story times and song and rhyme sessions.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the library over the past 4 years, whether you are a borrower, a volunteer, a trustee or you just follow us on social media to keep up to date with what’s going on! Your support is greatly appreciated.

We’re always on the look out for new people to join our dedicated team of volunteers, so if you’re interested just get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

Once again – thank you/diolch yn fawr.

Help out when you check out

Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for Taibach Community Library with easyfundraising?

There are over 4,000 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com and M&S – and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help us raise funds.

All you need to do is:

1. Visit easyfundraising by clicking here and join for free.

2. Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping.

3. After you’ve checked out, the retailer will make a donation to Taibach Community Library at no extra cost to you whatsoever!

There are no catches or hidden charges and Taibach Community Library will be really grateful for your donations.

Thank you for your support.

Volunteer plea to boost library

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VOLUNTEERS at Taibach Library are appealing to members to join them in a bid to ensure the service remains.

The library is run by a community group of residents after Neath Port Talbot cut funding for the service last year in a bid to meet their budget.

One year later and the library is still going, but volunteers are sending out an appeal for more people to join them to ensure it remains open.

A spokesman for the community group running the library said: “We are hoping others will come forward to help us run the library.

“More volunteers helping out would be a great boost for us and would make sure the library will be here for years to come.”

Article taken from the South Wales Evening Post, Monday 1st February 2016

If you have some spare time and would like to volunteer at the library, head over to our Volunteer page to find out more about what the role entails and to apply.

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