Schoolchildren delivered a musical thank you to the team who gave their local library a massive £47,000 face lift.
Pupils of Ysgol Babanod Llanfairfechan and Ysgol Pant y Rhedyn performed songs in Welsh and English at the official reopening of the library on the high street in Llanfairfechan.
The building was transformed by the refurbishment work that was carried out with the help of Cartrefi Conwy housing association and building firm Brenig Construction.
The Friends of Llanfairfechan Community Library also launched a short story writing competition and design a logo contest for the schoolchildren to enter.
The winning logo design will be proudly emblazoned on the library windows.
Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb roused an excited cheer as he cut the ribbon to allow users, young and old, into the new look facility.
He said it was heart-warming to see first-hand the results of the sterling community efforts which have turned the library building into a vibrant hub of local life.
After securing a £30,000 Community Facilities Grant from the Welsh Government, which was partly match-funded by Conwy County Borough Council and Llanfairfechan Town Council, the Friends of Llanfairfechan Community Library asked Cartrefi Conwy to help to project manage the vital structural and interior improvements needed to the building.
The work, with much of the labour provided free, was done by Colwyn Bay-based Brenig Construction, which also built Cartrefi Conwy’s new Glanarfon development of 28 homes in Penmaenmawr Road.
The transformation included removing a wall, relocation of a computer area from a dark back room into the main facility, creating a light, airy space for users to read, research and work in, and refurbishing the kitchen and bathroom areas.
The windows were also replaced with energy efficient double glazed units where the new logo will be displayed.
The logo competition, also sponsored by Cartrefi Conwy, asks pupils of the local schools to think of a creative motif which visually expresses the importance of books to their local community and to the world in general.
Local mum Kirsty Merrell Daily said it was a great idea, which, along with the short story competition, would really fire the imaginations of youngsters.
She praised the Friends of Llanfairfechan Community Library committee for the hard work and dedication that they put into its re-modelling.
She said: “It is an excellent result all round and has given the whole facility a new lease of life. There’s a lovely buzz here now and a feeling of this being a place where you really want to spend time. The atmosphere is so friendly and I can definitely see children in particular gathering here to do their homework and research any ongoing school projects.
“People say that books are a thing of the past but I definitely don’t agree. They are as relevant as ever and I can see a great resurgence on the way.”
Headmaster of Ysgol Babanod Llanfairfechan and Ysgol Pant y Rhedyn, Matthew Jones, said the pupils were very excited about the logo competition and had been thrilled when they were invited to be VIP guests at the library’s re-opening ceremony.
He said: “This is a very special day for the whole community. The library is a fantastic resource and I promise both our schools will be making regular use of this wonderful new space from now on.”
Cartrefi Conwy managing director of commercial services Adrian Johnson, said the organisation did not hesitate to get involved with the library project.
He said: “There is no doubt whatsoever this is a job well done. The volunteers have put a commendable amount of time and effort into saving this library for the community.
“As an organization, Cartrefi Conwy always likes to contribute something extra to the areas in which it builds any development and I can honestly think of no better lasting legacy than this library which is clearly treasured by everyone who lives here.
“It gives us a great sense of job satisfaction to think it will be so well used not just by the present population but by generations to come including our very own tenants.”
Brenig Construction director Mark Parry agreed it was an honour to deliver such an invaluable service for the local community.
He said: “From the opening celebrations alone it is clear how well loved this amenity is. We were extremely glad to donate our labour free of charge to help get it into ship shape.
“We had the labour on hand, the design and building skills, and the supply chain needed to complete the work quickly and efficiently, saving the library committee over £10,000.
“Now The Friends of Llanfairfechan Community Library can concentrate all their fundraising drives on the future running and maintaining of this lovely feel-good library.”
Steffan Richards, Conwy County Borough Council’s community librarian, said: “The lease of the library building was officially transferred to the community group in early 2015.
“We continue to provide the library service, with 15 hours of staffing a week, book stock and IT equipment, but the Friends of Llanfairfechan Community Library is responsible for the running and maintenance of the building, as well as organising activities outside of library hours.
“The help and assistance the group have received from Cartrefi Conwy has been absolutely invaluable. They are really going to leave a legacy here in Llanfairfechan and something the whole community can benefit from.”
The library service is available for use by local children and adults to join as members. It will also be offering story telling sessions, and group workshop opportunities for schools, community groups, such as guides, cub scouts, book clubs, local history and leisure organisations.
Llanfairfechan town clerk Einir Shepherd, who was presented with a bouquet of flowers at the opening, said there was already lots of positive feedback and increasing interest from local groups in ways to get the best use out of the library.
Community Wellbeing team leader Jayne Neal was delighted with the new layout and particularly the decision to bring the computers into the main room. She has been helping organise a series of IT drop in sessions at the library, offering basic IT support for people who want to increase their computer skill levels.
She said: “It really is a welcoming and friendly place in which to meet or study. I want to say a big congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard. It’s an achievement they can all be proud of.”
The library committee now wants to hear from any individuals or organisations who might like to use the new facilities to host groups or meetings outside Library opening hours. The committee itself is also looking for new members with the skills to further develop and maintain this fantastic resource for the village.