HAVERFORDWEST’s town councillors have toured the new county library, gallery and information centre currently under construction in the town centre.

The town council recently agreed to help fund Pembrokeshire County Council’s new library so it could open all day on Saturdays instead of closing at 1pm, the current Saturday closing time.

During the site visit, town councillors heard that the new facility will be much more than a library.

It will also include tourist information provision, a coffee shop, and a top quality exhibition gallery in partnership with the National Library of Wales.

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

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.

Councillors were shown round by the County Council’s Head of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mike Cavanagh, and Anthony Thomas, site manager for contractors W. B. Griffiths of Haverfordwest.

At their November meeting the town council agreed to fund the Saturday opening hours of the new library by providing a minimum of £9,000 a year which would pay staff salaries for the afternoon hours.

The funding was agreed for a five-year term, to match with the five-year agreement arranged with the National Library of Wales’ exhibitions collection.