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.
Thu 14/05/20: Following consultation with the local authority, it is with regret that we will not be able to reopen safely for the time being.
Please keep checking this page as any updates will be provided as and when we have them.
Thanks everyone, stay safe.
Mon 11/05/20: We are awaiting further guidelines from the local authority and Welsh Government before we can confirm our plans to re-open.
Announcements will be made here as soon as we have any news. Thank you.
Fri 08/05/20: Following the Welsh Government statement issued today, we are currently in the process of making plans to re-open the library.
Further details will be provided on this page in due course.
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.
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
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.
- Theory Test Pro – Practice the UK’s driving theory test – Log in using your library card number http://nptlibraries.therorytestpro.co.uk
This evening our volunteers and trustees were intending to post the letter below through local letterboxes. Unfortunately with the Coronavirus epidemic taking over this letter posting has been cancelled.
We need your support. Please please please SHARE this post far and wide. We need to raise £5,000 to save the library from closure. The library operates entirely on a voluntary basis, and has done so since May 2014.
Everyone who works in the library gives up their own time to keep the library running. All of our money comes from donations, fines, printing etc and we receive no other financial support. Every penny we take goes towards paying essential bills such as heating, lighting, security alarm etc.
We currently have a crowdfunder running at www.givey.com/savetaibachlibrary/ Please support us if you can. All donations, no matter how large or small really will make a great difference and allow us to continue providing a valuable service to the communities of Taibach, Goytre and Margam.
If donating via the Givey site, and you are a UK tax payer, you can choose to add Gift Aid to your donation. This will give us 25% extra on top of your donation and it won’t cost you any extra.
You can also donate via Facebook. Or PayPal (visit www.taibachlibrary.org.uk/donate to find out more about this). We also accept cash or cheque. This can be posted to the library/through the letterbox. You can also send us money via bank transfer. Please message us if you’d like our details for this.
If you run a local business or work for a national organisation and you’d like to Sponsor the library for a year please get in touch. In return we can promote your business on all our promotional material.
One final way you can support us is by becoming a member of the Taibach Community Library Charity for just £10 a year. This membership enables you to attend our Annual General Meeting and stand for a position on our board of Trustees. It’s also a great way of showing your support, whether you use the library on a regular basis or if it holds a special place in your heart. Visit www.taibachlibrary.org.uk/charity-membership for details on becoming a member.
Thank you so much in advance for your support. Don’t forget to Share this post. Thank you 👍
Join us for an Afternoon Tea Party on Friday 6th March 2pm to celebrate International Women’s Day. Entry fee £2.
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.
With effect from January 2020 there will be a slight amendment to our Saturday opening hours. The new opening time will be 11.00 – 15.00. As a result of this, the time of our weekly Kids Club will also change.
Our opening hours over the Christmas period are outlined below.
Come along to Taibach Community Library’s Christmas Party! It’ll be held on Saturday 21st December between 1pm – 3pm.
This December we’ll be holding a Storytime with Santa & Elves. Hope you’ll be able to join us on Saturday 7th December at 1.30pm.
The Annual General Meeting of Taibach Community Library will take place on Wednesday 20th November 6.30pm at Taibach Community Library, 5 Commercial Road, Taibach, Port Talbot, SA13 1LN.
Please click on the relevant period above to view the Trustees’ Annual Report and Charity Finances for that period.
The Notice of AGM can be found below.
This February, Taibach Community Library is celebrating Love Your Library Month. It’s our way of encouraging you to take advantage of the many free services we offer and for you to demonstrate your support for the Library.
If you don’t already have a library card, now is the perfect time to apply for one. Pick up your free NPT Libraries card from Taibach Community Library. We’ll just need to see some proof of your address to sign you up.
Lost your card? Call in and pick up a replacement card for just £1.
Using your Library card you can access our range of adult and children fiction and non-fiction books and DVDs. We also have free internet access with an A4/A3 colour printer which can be used for a small fee.
To celebrate Love Your Library month and with Valentines’ Day just around the corner, starting Monday 11th February we’ll be running a Blind Date with a book campaign. Simply pick up a wrapped, secret book and discover a new author or genre. After reading, fill out a Rate your Date slip and enter it into our prize draw.
Here at Taibach Community Library, we also have many groups and clubs to suit all ages. Here’s what’s coming up this month:
Saturday 2nd February at 12pm: Lego Club (50p entry)
Monday 4th February at 2.30pm: Family History (Free)
Saturday 9th February at 12pm: Lego Club (50p entry)
Monday 11th February at 2.30pm: Family History (Free)
Saturday 16th February at 12pm: Lego Club (50p entry)
Monday 18th February at 2.30pm: Family History (Free)
Friday 22nd February at 10am: Coffee Morning (Free, donations welcome)
Saturday 23rd February at 12pm: Lego Club (50p entry)
Monday 25th February at 2.30pm: Family History (Free)
Thursday 28th February at 12.30pm Book Club (Free)
Taibach Community Library is a registered charity in England & Wales. Registered charity number 1158698. We rely solely on donations from local people and businesses. Donations can be made in person at the library or you may contribute online at www.taibachlibrary.org.uk/donate
Thank you for your support!
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.
The Library will be closed on Good Friday (14th April) & Easter Monday (17th April).
We will re-open as normal on Tuesday 18th April at 10am.
Happy Easter to all our borrowers, supporters and volunteers!
With effect from Monday 6th February 2017, the opening hours of this library will be changing. The new hours can be found below:
Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising a free donation for Taibach Community Library? There are nearly 3,000 retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, Aviva, thetrainline and Sainsbury’s, who will donate a percentage of the amount you spend to Taibach Community Library to say thank you for shopping with them.
Find out more below.
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.
Receive any unwanted gifts for Christmas? Your community library would be happy to recycle them as raffle prizes!
We now have these fantastic Friends of Margam Park Christmas Cards for sale at Taibach Community Library, priced at just £1 each.
Thank you to everyone who attended our Black Friday Coffee Morning & Gift Sale. We raised a fantastic £90 which will go towards keeping our community run library open.
Here are our Christmas and New Year Opening Hours for 2015/16.
We will be hosting a Christmas Charity Quiz Night at Taibach Community Library on Wednesday 9th December at 7pm.