Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 16:51 UK

Stacey writer is libraries champ

Ruth Jones
Ruth Jones said libraries are at the heart of local communities

Gavin And Stacey star Ruth Jones has taken on a new role as the first celebrity Welsh libraries champion.

The writer and actress, who plays leather-clad Nessa and is often seen at the amusement arcade in Barry, said she was a "big fan" of libraries

She said they were inspiring places and that she was proud to have been asked to perform the role.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said he was sure she would help persuade people to use libraries.

Mr Jones said: "It's great news that Ruth has taken on this new role in addition to those of stage and screen.

"I am sure that she will be a very effective library champion and will persuade those who think libraries aren't for them to think again."

Libraries are where I first discovered the internet and I would urge anyone who hasn't been into their library lately (or ever!), take a look inside
Libraries Champion Ruth Jones

Jones, who co-writes the hit comedy with James Corden, will help launch a high profile national campaign in the autumn.

She said: "I'm a big fan of libraries, they are inspiring places and I'm proud to have been asked to become the Library Champion for Welsh libraries.

"Libraries are often the centre of the community - a haven that is open to all, from babies and toddlers to silver surfers and it's free to join.

"I have spent many hours in public and academic libraries throughout my life - reading, writing and researching.

"Libraries are where I first discovered the internet and I would urge anyone who hasn't been into their library lately (or ever!), take a look inside," she said

Nessa as a statue
Jones in Gavin and Stacey as a human statue outside Barry library

"Have a chat with the staff to see what is on offer - as well as hundreds of wonderful books on just about any subject for free, there are DVDs and CDs available, free internet access, classes and activities."

The heritage minister recently announced £3.5m funding to develop the Welsh library network.

The funding is part of the three year Libraries for Life programme under which library buildings will be modernised and free access to online services like family history resources will be provided.

Mr Jones said: "Libraries are at the heart of their local communities and offer people the chance to improve their skills and develop their knowledge - giving them an added edge in the jobs market."

Jones' role follows on from last year's Happy Days campaign which she launched at Barry Library and for which she also enlisted the support of other celebrities to raise awareness of the value of libraries.

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