New Opportunities for Babies and Young Children to Learn to Swim

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LAUNCHED ACROSS AURA WALES SITES IN FLINTSHIRE

We are excited to share that Aura has launched the Learn to Swim Wales Early Years swimming programmes – Bubbles and Splash in our leisure centres.
Swim Wales promotes the introduction of babies and young children to the aquatic environment. The introduction of babies and young children to a swimming pool should be safe, positive, fun and progressive to promote a lifelong love of the water.
Bubbles provides a fully supported introduction to the aquatic environment for babies and young children with an accompanying adult, specifically aimed at children aged 0-3 years. There are 4 levels of progression in Bubbles, with aquatic skills progressively developing throughout each level. Responsible adults are taught how to support and aid the child through games, songs and themed fun activities. A certificate is available for successfully completing each level. The existing Splash framework has been reviewed and updated and encourages a young child’s increasingly independent and guided discovery of the aquatic environment to develop water confidence, specifically aimed at children aged 3+. There are 6 levels of progression in Splash, with aquatic skills progressively developing throughout each level, with the child being increasingly independent in the water. Splash is recommended to be delivered in two ways; either starting at 3+ years old with a teacher in the water teaching up to 6 children, or for Splash 1 and 2 it can be delivered in the same format as Bubbles with a responsible adult accompanying each child. This allows for younger children who may progress more quickly through the programme due to starting their aquatic learning early and developing water confidence to not be held up in the system.
Aura Leisure’s Sport Development Manager, Matt Hayes said, “We are proud to be launching the new early years learning programme across Aura Leisure. This new programme provides a stepping stone for young children to be introduced into the pool. It is an amazing opportunity for adults to enjoy the water with their children in a safe and fun environment. We encourage all parents and guardians to bring their children swimming from an early age, as there is no better gift to give your child than the gift of water confidence and swimming.”
National Learn to Swim Manager for Swim Wales, Hanna Guise said, “We are delighted to support Aura Leisure to launch our Early Years programmes across their leisure centres. One of the many positives of swimming is how inclusive it is as an activity, sport or hobby and our Early Years frameworks help provide more opportunities for babies and young children to have a positive and fun introduction to water, as well as provide opportunities for wider physical literacy development, socialisation and bonding experiences with accompanying adults. It has been fantastic to observe the lessons and engage with teachers and participants to see first-hand the positive benefits of getting in the water! We are excited to work with Aura Leisure to help and support them in further developing their Early Years opportunities.”
Providers interested in launching Bubbles and Splash in their programme can contact Swim Wales Aquatic Development and our experienced and passionate team will discuss everything in more detail with you – aquaticdevelopment@swimming.org.
For residents of Flintshire looking for swimming lessons for babies and young children, please contact Wes Billings wes.billings@aura.wales or your local Leisure Centre.

Aura Wales’ ‘Joe Wicks’ schools pupils on the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle

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Aura Wales Fitness Instructor, Adam Renshaw, has been working to increase links with Flintshire schools to encourage pupils to keep active and promote physical and mental well-being.

Earlier this year, Adam organised online fitness sessions for nine primary schools across Flintshire over a six week period. His motivation to organise the classes on behalf of Aura was borne out of his own experience at home. He explained: “I began to think of ways in which Aura could promote physical activity for the younger community after seeing first-hand how the lockdown impacted my children’s lives and routine. At the time, Aura’s fitness team was receiving great feedback about the free online classes for adults, and it made me realise that we needed something similar for younger people to engage in. I wanted the online fitness sessions to provide children with 30 minutes of fun physical activity to help burn some un-used energy.

Around 120 pupils and teachers took part in the online classes within schools, along with over 60 children and parents joining in from home. As a result, colleagues and friends began to jokingly refer to Adam as the “Joe Wicks of Flintshire” due to his efforts to engage young people in physical activity.
Earlier this month, Adam visited Ewloe Green Primary School to help the children prepare for Sports Day by taking part in various exercise classes. Thankfully, no computer screens or Zoom log in details were required this time around, and Adam was able to happily greet around 180 children over a three day period; many of whom previously attended the online fitness sessions.

Adam explained: “Community work is a key element of Aura’s overall provision. Our ongoing relationship with local schools gives us the opportunity to promote the importance of physical activity, in a fun and enjoyable way. I really enjoyed seeing all the children exercising with huge smiles on their faces! I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Ewloe Green Primary School who made me feel very welcome. It was a pleasure to lead the sessions.

Praising Adam’s passion for promoting well-being in the community, Headteacher Ruth Dyas said: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks for the support over the last few months in engaging the children in a fun, vibrant and exciting series of online workshops. The children have genuinely loved taking part – as have the staff – and have benefitted holistically from the programme. We were delighted to welcome Adam to our school to lead the warm-ups for a series of Sports Days for Years 1 to 6. It was full of energy and fun which the children and staff have again thoroughly enjoyed.”

Adam and Aura hope to continue inspiring local schools to engage in physical activity and healthy lifestyles through further outreach projects due to take place during the remaining weeks of the summer term.

Aura Libraries’ Author of the Month: July 2021!

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Our July 2021 Author of the Month is Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie has been described by many to be one of the most influential and important literary voices of our time. A master of magical realism: his works often weave together fairy tale or fable like elements, with a captivating sense of place and history.
Whether you are discovering his books for the very first time, or revisiting some of his best known and loved titles, we have put together a small reading list to set you off on a Salman Rushdie adventure! Enjoy!

Where it all began…
Grimus (1975)
Midnight’s Children (1981)

The game changers…
The Satanic Verses (1988)
The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995)

For younger readers…
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990)
Luka and the Fire of Life (2010)

Most recently….
Quichotte (2019)
Languages of truth: essays 2003-2020 (2021)

Aura Libraries top recommendation…
The Enchantress of Florence (2008)

What is your favourite Salman Rushdie novel? Let us know what you think of our choices or which ones you would have chosen! Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter (@LibFlintshire), Instagram (@llyfrgelloeddauralibraries) or Facebook (@LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries)
To view our previous Author of the Month, click here!

Fit, Fed and Read with Aura Leisure and Libraries

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Over the May Half Term, colleagues from Aura Libraries joined forces with the Aura Sports Development team to provide some exciting activities for children in the Flintshire community.


In recent years, the Sports Development has taken part in a nationwide campaign called ‘Fit and Fed’, created by StreetGames, a UK-wide organisation that uses sport to create positive change in the lives of disadvantaged young people. The aim of Fit and Fed is to create opportunities for physical activity, and promote a healthy diet by providing healthy snacks at the end of each session. Aura colleagues decided to add an additional library element to the sessions which focuses upon reading and creativity. Combining library and leisure activities together, the sessions ultimately aim to emphasise the importance of keeping minds, as well as bodies, healthy.

Over 300 people attended Aura’s Fit, Fed and Read sessions across Holywell, Mostyn, Flint and Saltney, where over 150 packed lunches and 450 bottles of water were given out. Over 100 Bookstart packs were also given away to families, and children were able to take part in storytime and craft sessions.


Susannah Hill, Library Service Manager, shared her thoughts on the importance of providing these sessions, saying: “Aura Libraries welcomed the opportunity to take part in the Fit Fed and Read sessions. As a library service, we feel that it is vital to get out and meet people in the community. A library should not just be about the building or the resources it houses: a library is about community, and it is important for families to be able to access and enjoy free activities together.

We were able to engage with lots of children and families and provide opportunities for them to share stories together and join in with crafts. As well as Bookstart packs, we were also able to give children and families other books and craft activities to enjoy at home. We have been delighted to see children who attended the sessions return to see us in the libraries, too. It was fantastic to work with our colleagues in Sports Development and we are very much looking forward to working together again over the summer holiday.

Encouraging healthy minds and bodies is something that lies at the heart of all Aura services, particularly after this challenging past year. Now, more than ever, mental and physical health is of huge importance, and it is Aura’s hope that these sessions will encourage families in Flintshire to prioritise their health and well-being. Both Aura Libraries and the Aura Sports Development team are already looking forward to hosting Fit, Fed and Read sessions once again over the summer holiday. We are hoping to run sessions in: Holywell, Saltney, Flint, Deeside, Mold, Mostyn and Treuddyn. We hope you can join us!


Click here for more information regarding StreetGames’ Fit and Fed campaign.
We encourage the community to visit our website and to follow us on Twitter (@aura_wales), Facebook (@walesaura) and Instagram (@aura.wales) for further information about our Fit, Fed and Read sessions over the summer holiday.

Aura Libraries’ Author of the Month: June 2021!

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Our June 2021 Author of the Month is Elena Ferrante

Whilst it may be a pseudonym, the name Elena Ferrante is one of the most influential to date in Italy’s literary history. Published originally in Italian, Elena Ferrante’s works have been translated into many languages for readers all around the world to enjoy. She is perhaps most best known and loved for her Neapolitan series which follows the lives of Elena and Lina: two childhood friends that navigate their way into adulthood together and apart. Her other works have also been adored by readers worldwide for their moving and intimate insights about identity and belonging.

Whether you are discovering her books for the very first time, or revisiting some of her best known and loved titles, we have put together a small reading list to set you off on an Elena Ferrante adventure! Enjoy!

Where it all began…
Troubling Love (1992/2006)
The Days of Abandonment (2002/2005)

The Neapolitan Quartet…
My Beautiful Friend (2011/2012)
The Story of a New Name (2012/2013)
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2013/2014)
The Story of the Lost Child (2014/2015)

Most recently….
The Lying Life of Adults (2020)


Aura Libraries top recommendation…
Frantumaglia: an author’s journey told through letters, interviews, and occasional writings (2003/2016)

What is your favourite Elena Ferrante novel? Let us know what you think of our choices or which ones you would have chosen! Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter (@LibFlintshire), Instagram (@llyfrgelloeddauralibraries) or Facebook (@LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries)
To view our previous Author of the Month, click here!

Aura Libraries’ Author of the Month: May 2021!

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Our May 2021 Author of the Month is Paul Auster

American novelist Paul Auster has captivated readers for decades with his distinctive narrative style and flare for building suspense. Many of his most loved novels and autobiographies feature recurring themes of identity and duplicity, along with characters who are often writers and storytellers themselves.

Whether you are discovering his books for the very first time, or revisiting some of his best known and loved titles, we have put together a small reading list to set you off on a Paul Auster adventure! Enjoy!

Where it all began…
The New York Trilogy (1987)


Beloved titles…
The Book of Illusions (2002)
The Brooklyn Follies (2005)
Invisible (2009)


Autobiographies and Memoirs…
The Invention of Solitude (1982)
Winter Journal (2012)
Report from the Interior (2013)


More recently….
4321 (2017)


Aura Libraries top recommendation…
Sunset Park (2010)

What is your favourite Paul Auster novel? Let us know what you think of our choices or which ones you would have chosen! Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter (@LibFlintshire), Instagram (@llyfrgelloeddauralibraries) or Facebook (@LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries)
To view our previous Author of the Month, click here!

Customer Update: Reopening of Aura Leisure Centres May 2021

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Following the First Minister’s announcement on 23 April to bring forward the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in Wales, we are pleased to inform you of the following re-opening dates for Aura’s leisure centres and their programme of activities:

Monday, 26 April 2021: Outdoor fitness classes for up to 30 people will resume. Customers wishing to book into these classes will be able to do so online from 19 April. New customers should email info@aura.wales for their personal PIN number.

Monday, 3 May 2021: Aura’s leisure centres and swimming pools in Buckley, Flint and Mold will re-open for individual or one-to-one training and single household sessions.

The fitness suites at Jade Jones Pavilion Flint and Mold will open on Bank Holiday Monday (3 May) from 8:00am-2:00pm.

Thereafter, from 4 May, the fitness suites will open from 7:00am-9:00pm on weekdays and 8:00am-2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Gym opening times will be reviewed continuously upon re-opening with extended opening hours introduced subject to demand.

Indoor fitness classes for up to 15 people will resume.
Customers wishing to book into these classes will be able to do so online from 28 April.

Additional information regarding the fitness classes’ timetable will follow in due course.

The swimming pools at Buckley, Flint and Mold will be open as per the Swimming Pool Programme. Public swimming sessions will initially be limited to individual and family pod sessions (maximum of 5 people per pod) with opening times subject to continuous review based on demand. Indoor organised sports clubs are able to resume though room hire is limited to a maximum of 15 people. In addition, the appropriate national governing body (NGB) will be required to provide Aura with an action plan to ensure the club is able to demonstrate its adherence to the NGB guidance at local level.

Aura will only accept bookings from clubs that provide:
• Confirmation that the club has reviewed, and will adhere to, its NGB and Government guidelines and protocols;
• Copy of the club’s Covid-19 Risk Assessments;
• Contact details for the club’s designated Covid-19 compliance officer; and
• Confirmation that the club will maintain a register for all attendees including the groups in which they are participating.

Monday, 10 May 2021: Children’s swimming lessons will restart.

Additional information regarding the swimming lessons’ programme will follow in due course.

Customer Payments

Aura will not resume taking direct debit payments for fitness memberships until 19 May and 5 June 2021. This delay in restarting direct debit collections is due to the phased re-opening and reduced availability of some services initially.

More information on direct debit payments regarding children’s swimming lessons will follow in due course.

If your child is not planning on returning to swimming lessons please let us know at swim@aura.wales

Customers DO NOT need to do anything to reactivate their direct debit payments.

Many customers (non-direct debit) will have already paid upfront via cash/card for one of the following memberships prior to leisure centres closing on 19 December 2020:

• Annual
• Saver10
• NERS Saver16
• Monthly CASH

In all circumstances, the previous expiry date will be extended to mirror the length of the period of closure for leisure centres (20 December 2020 to 2 May 2021).

And finally…
Please can we advise all customers to visit our website and to follow us on Instagram (@aura.wales), Twitter (@aura_wales) and Facebook (@walesaura) for further updates.

Aura’s Customer Services Team can be contacted at info@aura.wales or via telephone from Monday, 26 April 2021 on 01352 704302 / 704316 (Mon – Fri, 10:00am – 3:00pm).

Shakespeare retold: our top 10 books inspired by the bard!

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23 April marks the birth and death date of William Shakespeare. Whilst we here at Aura Libraries love Shakespeare from his sonnets to his plays, we also love the many different adaptations and reimagining’s that have been inspired by the bard.
We’ve put together a small list of titles to inspire our library members to rediscover Shakespeare: all of the below titles are available to borrow from your local Aura library.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Wise Children by Angela Carter
Nutshell by Ian McEwan:
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Shylock is my Name by Howard Jacobson
The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth


World Book Night

This year is the 10th anniversary of World Book Night (23 April): an annual celebration of books and the magic of reading. Click here to find out how you can get involved in this year’s celebrations: whether it is taking part in a virtual quiz, taking a look at the 2021 booklist, downloading a free audiobook, or attending an extra special virtual event – there are lots of ways to enjoy World Book Night from the comfort of your home this year.

Aura Mobile Library Schedule April-June 2021

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LocationDayDateTime
Brynford – near the schoolTuesday20/04/2021
04/05/2021
18/05/2021
01/06/2021
15/06/2021
29/06/2021
1.40 -2.00pm
Caergwrle – Tan y BrynTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
11.30am-12.15pm
Caerwys – the SquareTuesday20/04/2021
04/05/2021
18/05/2021
01/06/2021
15/06/2021
29/06/2021
9.45am-12.15pm
Calcoed – by the chapel/golf courseTuesday20/04/2021
04/05/2021
18/05/2021
01/06/2021
15/06/2021
29/06/2021
1.15-1.35pm
Ewloe – Level Road Community CentreWednesday21/04/2021
05/05/2021
19/05/2021
02/06/2021
16/06/2021
30/06/2021
11.50am-12.30pm
Ewloe – opposite Ewloe Green SchoolWednesday21/04/2021
05/05/2021
19/05/2021
02/06/2021
16/06/2021
30/06/2021
2.50-3.50pm
Ewloe – Prince William CourtFriday30/04/2021
14/05/2021
28/05/2021
11/06/2021
25/06/2021
09/07/2021
10.10-10.40am
Ffrith – by the Community CentreTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
10.30-11.15am
Flint Mountain – HenblasThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
1.40-2.10pm
Gronant – Nant y Gro (bottom end)Thursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
10.25-10.45am
Gronant – Llanasa Road/Abbey DriveThursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
10.50-11.15am
Gwernaffield – near The Hand pubFriday23/04/2021
07/05/2021
21/05/2021
04/06/2021
18/06/2021
02/07/2021
10.05-10.30am
Gwernymynydd – Uwch y DreFriday23/04/2021
07/05/2021
21/05/2021
04/06/2021
18/06/2021
02/07/2021
9.30- 9.55am
Hawarden – Gladstone car parkWednesday21/04/2021
05/05/2021
19/05/2021
02/06/2021
16/06/2021
30/06/2021
9.45-11.00am
Hawarden – Braeside AvenueWednesday21/04/2021
05/05/2021
19/05/2021
02/06/2021
16/06/2021
30/06/2021
11.10-11.40am
Hope – Heulwen Road / layby near schoolWednesday28/04/2021
12/05/2021
26/05/2021
09/06/2021
23/06/2021
07/07/2021
1.30-2.00pm
Kinnerton – opposite the shopWednesday28/04/2021
12/05/2021
26/05/2021
09/06/2021
23/06/2021
07/07/2021
2.10-3.45pm
Leeswood – Maes y MeillionTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
1.20-2.00pm
Leeswood – Prince of WalesTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
2.05-2.35pm
Llanfynydd – Layby by bungalowsTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
9.45-10.20am
Mancot – Prince William GardensFriday30/04/2021
14/05/2021
28/05/2021
11/06/2021
25/06/2021
09/07/2021
9.30-10.00am
Mostyn – Maes Pennant shopsWednesday28/04/2021
12/05/2021
26/05/2021
09/06/2021
23/06/2021
07/07/2021
9.45-10.30am
Mynydd Isa – Shops/community centreFriday30/04/2021
14/05/2021
28/05/2021
11/06/2021
25/06/2021
09/07/2021
10.55am-12.15pm
Nannerch – Village RoadTuesday20/04/2021
04/05/2021
18/05/2021
01/06/2021
15/06/2021
29/06/2021
2.45-3.45pm
New Brighton – Community CentreWednesday21/04/2021
05/05/2021
19/05/2021
02/06/2021
16/06/2021
30/06/2021
1.40-2.40pm
Northop – by schoolThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
2.20-2.40pm
Northop Hall – Top Monkey pubThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
2.50-3.45pm
Penyffordd (CH4) – Corwen RoadWednesday28/04/2021
12/05/2021
26/05/2021
09/06/2021
23/06/2021
07/07/2021
11.45am-12.30pm
Penyffordd (CH8) – by Bryn Garth schoolThursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
2.00-3.45pm
Penymynydd – Well House DriveWednesday28/04/2021
12/05/2021
26/05/2021
09/06/2021
23/06/2021
07/07/2021
11.15-11.35am
Rhosesmor – Llys EnfysFriday23/04/2021
07/05/2021
21/05/2021
04/06/2021
18/06/2021
02/07/2021
10.45-11.15am
Rhydymwyn – by the football clubFriday23/04/2021
07/05/2021
21/05/2021
04/06/2021
18/06/2021
02/07/2021
11.30am-12.10pm
Saltney – Douglas Place Community CentreThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
9.45-10.15am
Saltney – Sandy Lane Community CentreThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
10.20-10.45am
Saltney Ferry – Belmont DriveThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
10.50-11.20am
Saltney Ferry – Flint Road, Ferry LodgeThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
11.25-11.40am
Sandycroft – Phoenix Road by Phoenix HouseThursday29/04/2021
13/05/2021
27/05/2021
10/06/2021
24/06/2021
08/07/2021
11.50am-12.20pm
Talacre – Gamfa WenThursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
9.45-10.10am
Trelawnyd – near the Village HallThursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
11.30am-12.00pm
Trelogan – below the Community CentreThursday22/04/2021
06/05/2021
20/05/2021
03/06/2021
17/06/2021
01/06/2021
1.15-1.45pm
Treuddyn – Ffordd y RhosTuesday27/04/2021
11/05/2021
25/05/2021
08/06/2021
22/06/2021
06/07/2021
2.45-3.45pm
Ysceifiog – opposite the Village HallTuesday20/04/2021
04/05/2021
18/05/2021
01/06/2021
15/06/2021
29/06/2021
2.10- 2.30pm

Aura Libraries’ Author of the Month: April 2021!

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Our April 2021 Author of the Month is Susan Hill

Novelist Susan Hill is perhaps most adored for her works of ghostly fiction and her gothic narrative stylings. Each of her ghost stories cleverly construct an air of suspense, mystery and terror which makes them incredibly difficult to put down! However, if ghost stories aren’t for you, you may enjoy some of her other works of fiction including detective novels and memoirs.
Whether you are discovering her books for the very first time, or revisiting some of her best known and loved titles, we have put together a small reading list to set you off on a Susan Hill adventure! Enjoy!

The ghost stories…
The Woman in Black (1983)
The Mist in the Mirror (1992)
The Man in the Picture (1997)
The Small Hand (2010)

The detective series…
The Various Haunts of Men (2004)
The Pure in Heart (2005)
The Risk of Darkness (2006)
The Vows of Silence (2008)

Most recently….
The Comforts of Home (2018)
The Benefits of Hindsight (2019)

Aura Libraries top recommendation: Printer’s Devil Court (2014)

What is your favourite Susan Hill novel? Let us know what you think of our choices or which ones you would have chosen! Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter (@LibFlintshire), Instagram (@llyfrgelloeddauralibraries) or Facebook (@LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries)
To view our previous Author of the Month, click here!