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INTERNET ACCESS IN ALL WELSH PUBLIC LIBRARIES

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A project to bring all public libraries online by the end of the year and offering free internet access to users ha...
A project to bring all public libraries online by the end of the year and offering free internet access to users has been welcomed by minister for culture, sport and the Welsh language Jenny Randerson. The first People's Network project in Wales funded by the New Opportunities Fund will be up and running in libraries throughout Rhondda Cynon Taff today offering library-goers state-of-the-art computer technology.

A total of£6.5m has been provided by New Opportunities Fund lottery money across Wales and the number of public computer terminals in libraries in Wales is due to increase from around 200 to around 2,000 - a tenfold increase.

Launching the official roll out of the project in Wales at Aberdare library, Jenny Randerson said: ' This is an exciting development for libraries across Wales. Pubic libraries are a much loved public resource and as such need to be up to date with modern technology.

'It is important we make information technology accessible to all. Providing free Internet access across Wales will encourage take up and will enable people to benefit from the services on offer.

'In addition to the£6.5m, an additional£0.87m has been provided by the New Opportunities Fund for an ICT training programme for all library staff to ensure they are able to offer people help and support when using the facilities.

'I am particularly impressed by the success of the People's Network ICT training programme. A staggering 1,670 library staff in Wales are being trained in ICT skills to help library users. I am very glad that the People's Network in Wales Task Group, chaired by Andrew Green, will be producing an action plan to ensure that library staff continue to update their ICT skills.'

The minister said that libraries have a unique role to play in helping the assembly government meet its commitment of creating a sustainable, inclusive and equal society in Wales. 'The People's Network is all about promoting lifelong learning and social inclusion,' she said. 'Ensuring free access to Internet services at a local community level will positively address social inclusion issues.'

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