A REPORT to be submitted to Blaenau Gwent councillors next week has found the authority’s libraries are struggling to invest in staff and stock.

Blaenau Gwent council’s executive committee will meet next Wednesday, April 22 and hear how staffing levels in their libraries are among the lowest in Wales.

The report follows an assessment of how well the Aneurin Leisure Trust – which is in charge of Blaenau Gwent’s libraries – is doing when compared to the Welsh Government’s nine Welsh Public Library Standards.

Blaenau Gwent council is currently meeting 6.5 of the nine standards.

Its libraries are unable to meet the “acquisitions” standard, as they are only acquiring half the amount of stock needed.

The authority also does not meet the standard for staffing levels – but only five local authorities in the whole of Wales do.

However Blaenau Gwent’s libraries were commended on the range of service provided which support the most vulnerable members of the community.

The report cited the launch of the “Every Child a Member” campaign in March last year, attended by John Griffiths AM, which has “increased issues and membership”.

In the report, leisure services and facilities manager David Watkins also said the assessors commend the work of library volunteers.

He said: “The annual report has recognised that Blaenau Gwent has made significant financial savings in order to maintain six libraries within the borough.

“The service was amongst the first in Wales to provide wi-fi at all its major service points and significant refurbishment projects have been undertaken at four libraries.”

Mr Watkins also said: “The report has highlighted that in the current financial climate the service does not have sufficient budget to invest in even minimum levels of stock or additional staff and does not have any plans for capital expenditure on library buildings.”

However, he did say some external funding has been secured to undertake some works at Ebbw Vale Library.

The net expenditure in Blaenau Gwent on public library provision per 1,000 population was £15,971.

Councillors will decide whether to approve the report which wants to see senior managers from the leisure trust meet with the Welsh Government to discuss “the position of the service and future strategy”. The report said it aims to ”redress some of these issues”.