HAVERFORDWEST’s new library will open all-day on Saturdays, following a vote by the town council to commit to five years of funding for Saturday afternoon opening hours.

The council approved funding for Saturday afternoon opening hours at the new library during their meeting on Wednesday, November 22, following a presentation on the benefits the new library could have for the town held the previous week.

A minimum of £9,000 per year funding was agreed upon, which would pay the salaries of staff at the library for the Saturday afternoon hours.

It was agreed any increase in the funding needed over the five years would have to be referred back to the council for consideration.

The term of funding was agreed upon to coincide with a five-year agreement the new library has with the National Museum of Wales and National Library of Wales to host exhibitions of national significance in an on-site gallery.

Exhibits planned for the gallery already include paintings by JMW Turner, and the Black Book of Carmarthen.

As well as a library and gallery, the former indoor market on the riverside in Haverfordwest will play host to a tourist information centre, and coffee shop.

The library could expect to see 200,000 visitors, at a conservative estimate, based on the combined footfall from the current library and the town’s former tourism information centre.

This could lead to nearly £1m being injected into the local economy, as 60% of library visitors are expected to spend an average of £8 while visiting the town.

Cllr Sue Murray welcomed the plans during the presentation on November 15.

“This project, along with the proposed cinema could be the start of the regeneration of the town centre,” she said.

County Councillor Thomas Tudor, of castle ward Haverfordwest said he was extremely excited about the development of the new library.

“There will be some very interesting paintings in the gallery including works from Turner, and local artist Maurice Sheppard.

“Regeneration of the county town is vital for the future of Haverfordwest and I am confident that the development of the library will be an important piece of the puzzle in the process of rejuvenation.”

The mayor of Haverfordwest, Cllr Alan Buckfield, stressed the funding was being given to enhance the new library provision, by adding Saturday afternoon to its opening hours.