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Looking back and moving on to an exciting and challenging future…

This morning, to mark the first anniversary of the fire of 26 April 2013, the Chief Executive and Librarian will address the entire staff of the National Library to thank them for their support during what has been one of the most challenging years in the Library’s long history. It will also offer Aled Gruffydd Jones an opportunity to launch the new Strategic Plan, and to emphasise the positives of the Library’s future development and the important role the Library will play in the economic, social and cultural life of the nation.

Aled Gruffydd Jones, Chief Executive and Librarian said:

“Today allows us an opportunity not only to look back, but also an opportunity to look forward to the future and launch the Library’s Strategic Plan for the next three years. Our vision is for Welsh people everywhere to be connected with knowledge important to all aspects of their lives. We believe that knowledge is at the core of human progress, endeavour and well-being”.

The Chief Executive went on to say:

“Since its establishment in 1907 the National Library of Wales has developed and maintained national collections relating to Wales, the people of Wales and other Celtic nations. Our chief challenge during the next three years will be to bring together as many people as possible to engage with our collections, and to do so in new ways for a wide variety of purposes”.

Strategic Repositioning

The Chief Executive and Librarian says that the new Knoweldge For All Strategic Plan signals a significant strategic repositioning and comes at an important moment in the long and distinguished history of the National Library of Wales.

The ‘Knowledge for All’ Strategic Plan will enable the Library not only to continue to preserve the nation’s tangible documentary heritage in the collections, but also to make greater use of digital technologies to release new content online and provide greater access to resources. Whilst remaining true to the Library’s original objectives the Strategic Plan addresses the key issues of extending public accessibility and engagement, the enhancement of its skills base and its leadership role in conservation and information literacy.

The Chief Executive and Librarian said:

“To this end, the Strategic Plan establishes an ever closer connection between our astonishingly rich, varied and growing collections, and the creative social uses that can be made of them. Creativity, innovation, knowledge and sustainability being the keys to social and economic regeneration, the physical and intellectual resources of the National Library will be marshalled to enable it to make a real, measurable and beneficial difference to the lives of the people of Wales”.

Delivering for the people of Wales

  • To be able to deliver its Strategic Plan the Library will need to sustain and develop partnerships and collaborations. They will enable the organisation to enhance the potential impact of what it does and help it to engage more effectively with its users. This is an exciting time for information institutions in Wales. The expansion of information and research data at previously unimaginable speed, and the proliferation of digital platforms, resources and usage combine to make possible the greater democratisation of knowledge. At the same time, there is a growing need for publicly-funded bodies to demonstrate the social, cultural and economic effects of their activities.
  • The Library will continue its established commitment to the development of such nation-wide digital initiatives as The People’s Collection, Cynefin, HWB and the Welsh First World War Programme, and support innovative digital programmes including our contribution to digital humanities at European and International level. At the same time, and in the light of devolution, it should embark on a national debate about the future of our historic archives and records created in Wales in relation to the current Public Records legislation, and leading the development in Wales of the digital humanities.
  • The ‘Knowledge for All’ Strategic Plan for 2014-17 seeks to position the National Library of Wales at the heart of information planning in Wales. By 2017 the Library will have mobilised its skills and its collections to enhance its public service and further broaden its range of users. The progress of the Strategic Plan will be measured against targets agreed by the Library’s Board of Trustees and CyMAL.

If there is one word that encapsulates the ambition of this Strategic Plan, that word is ‘impact’. The National Library, as a national institution, will make a significant difference to the culture, the society and the economy of Wales. It will be responsive to its users, both present and future. It will inspire its learners, of all ages, support the nation’s business sector and promote Wales’s image abroad. And it will make every effort to ensure that the collections of the National Library of Wales are increasingly accessible in every home in Wales.

In these ways, the National Library of Wales will reposition itself to deliver knowledge for all while holding true to its lasting purpose and values.

Some of the main objectives of the Strategic Plan:

  1. Increase our presence across Wales
  2. Develop the Conservation and Digital Preservation Service for Wales’ Documentary Heritage Project
  3. Develop a Community Partnership Programme with partners in the public sector
  4. Lead a national debate on the potential for establishing a National Archive for Wales

A great Library, and much more…

From its inception the Library has been more than what is conventionally recognised as a ‘library’, that is, a collection of printed works. In addition to its 6.5 million books and periodicals (including newspapers and journals), most of which have been acquired through our status as Wales’s only Legal Deposit Library, the Library preserves and gives access to:

  • Around 1,900 cubic metres of archival material;
  • The most comprehensive collection of paintings and topographical prints in Wales, totalling over 60,000 works;
  • Wales’s largest collection of portraits (c. 15,000 paintings and portrait pictures);
  • Around 40,000 manuscripts;
  • The largest collection of photographic images in Wales (c. 1,000,000);
  • Wales’s largest cartographic collection (c. 1,000,000 maps);
  • The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, which contains over 5.5 million feet of film, more than 250,000 hours of video, and over 200,000 hours of sound recordings.

The Library’s digital collections form the basis of a public digital library for Wales which is available to all users across the world free of charge. These collections include:

  • 1.1 million pages of newspapers
  • 1.3 million pages of journals
  • million pages of archives
  • 200,000 photographs
  • 50,000 items of graphic collections
  • 10,000 pages of manuscript
  • 400,000 hours of sound and moving images
  • 7,000,000 feet of film
  • 200,000 items from the ITV Cymru Archive
  • 1,500 websites

Further information

Elin-Hâf 01970 632471 or