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National Library – Senedd Culture Committee calls for urgent action to secure its financial future

04/11/2020

The Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has heard stark warnings from the National Library of Wales on the serious financial problems it faces. The Committee is calling on the Welsh Government to urgently to explain its plan to secure the National Library’s future.  

Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism will attend a meeting to discuss funding for the Library on Thursday 12 November. The National Library’s Chief Executive and Librarian Pedr ap Llwyd will meet with the Committee on the same day. 

The National Library has warned that it is in a very risky financial position as a result of historic underfunding. The Library is also calling for additional funding to maintain the building to guarantee the safety of staff and visitors and says that, without it, there is a real possibility of redundancies. 

The Welsh Government-commissioned an independent review, which concluded that the library faced a threat to its financial viability. The independent panel examined the library's activities and its management before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The National Library in Aberystwyth is home to the national collection of Welsh manuscripts, the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, and the most comprehensive collection of paintings and topographical prints in Wales. It is one of the largest research libraries in the UK and holds over 6.5 million books and periodicals and the largest collections of archives, portraits, maps and photographic images in Wales.  

Helen Mary Jones MS, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee: 

“There’s no question that the National Library is in a very serious situation. We know that the Library was in a difficult situation before the coronavirus pandemic due to historic underfunding, and this has only been exacerbated by lockdowns and restrictions on visitors. 

“We have now seen concerning findings from the independent review, commissioned by the Welsh Government. We’re calling on the Deputy Minister to attend our committee to explain what has happened and what the Welsh Government’s plan is to secure a future for this vital asset. 

“The National Library holds some of our most important history and as an organisation it has a rich history itself. We must do all we can to protect its future. That is why we’re urgently calling on the Welsh Government for answers.” 

Recognising the urgency to act, the Committee has reorganised its planned business in order to discuss this with the Welsh Government and the National Library for Wales on 12 November.  

Pedr ap Llwyd, the National Library’s Chief Executive and Librarian, will meet with the Committee at 9.30, followed by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS, at 10.30. The meetings will be streamed live on Senedd TV.

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