STAFF at Newtown Library have been singled out for praise by an American visitor who has been researching her family roots in Mid Wales using the library’s resources.

Cathy Brester, from Nevada, has family ties to Trefeglwys and has visited the area and the library twice to find out more about her sixth-great grandfather, Gerson Benbow, who emigrated to America as a stowaway in 1718.

In a letter received by library staff, Cathy thanked them for going above and beyond the call of duty in helping her to trace back her roots, organise a visit to Trefeglwys Church where her family served as vicars and for putting her in touch with a local historian.

Cathy said: “The assistance provided by Newtown Library allowed me to use resource material not available in the States or online.

“I am grateful for the library’s help.

I have always received a friendly response to emails sent in advance of my trip and library staff have greeted me warmly when I walked in with my rolling suitcase.

She added: “It is exciting to be able to see Mid Wales, and put context to my family’s history.

“This can only be done with the help of libraries like Newtown, who maintain excellent resources and helpful staff.”

Councillor Rachel Powell, Powys Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: “It’s clear that Cathy has been touched by the efforts staff at Newtown library have gone to in helping her trace her family roots.

“I think it’s a lovely gesture that she has put pen to paper and thanked them during the season of goodwill.

“From family history to Lego clubs, our libraries are a lifeline to people who enjoy reading, learning, browsing, playing and connecting with their communities.”