Awen Cultural Trust has launched a new 360° virtual tour of the libraries it manages across Bridgend county borough, to provide reassurance to customers returning to borrow books following the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The interactive tour, which features Aberkenfig, Betws, Bridgend, Maesteg, Pencoed, Porthcawl, Pyle and Sarn libraries and the Books on Wheels home delivery service, has been developed in partnership with technology company Aspire 2Be.

Available to access from the new Awen Libraries website, the virtual tour will allow users to travel through each of the library spaces by touching the screen of their digital device or the arrow keys on their computer keyboard.

There are videos embedded into each of the tours to give more information on topics including how to download e-books, how to carry out family and local history research, where to book IT and study spaces, and how to use the self-service machines.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “The virtual tours demonstrate how Awen has launched a range of procedures to ensure that people can visit the library safely, and they also offer a unique insight into how local libraries operate.

“I hope that they will offer people greater reassurance as we seek to make more services available once more.”

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which runs the library service in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “Our libraries were closed for the majority of the year, due to the pandemic, so there will be many customers who may not have visited in person for quite some time.

“We hope that by providing these 360° tours, we can give people an insight of what to expect to see at their local library when they return.

“The tours may also inspire others to visit a library they may not been to before, or even encourage people to visit a library for the first time. From the comfort of their own home, everyone will see how bright, welcoming and accessible our libraries are.

“However, for those who are still wish to limit our interactions, we will also continue to operate our popular Book and Collect service.”

Take the tour by visiting www.awen-libraries.com

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