Libraries in Wales
The National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales (NLW), located in Aberystwyth, is Wales’s greatest library – a vast repository of creative, academic and historical material of particular relevance to Wales, as well as books and other media from around the world. The Library is notably home to a magnificent collection of primary material, including key Welsh manuscripts from the early to modern period – from the Hendregadredd Manuscript to Dylan Thomas’s sketched map of Llareggub. The library also runs a programme of fascinating art, cultural and historical exhibitions throughout the year, details of which are regularly posted on their website.
If you’re 16 or over, you can obtain reading rights to the National Library of Wales for free, which will provide you with access to the many collections of print and non-print material for research. To obtain a reader’s ticket, you should apply online before you visit. Once issued, a ticket is valid for five years.
If you hold a valid reader’s ticket, you can also register to use Athens, which will allow you to search a wide variety of the library’s digitised articles and books, reference works and other materials right up to the present day. In addition, the Library provides online access to all through the digital mirror, an online repository of its collections, which continues to grow.
Welsh Journals Online
The National Library of Wales is currently in the process of digitising a selection of Wales’s primary journals published after 1900, including academic and literary journals, under its Welsh Journals Online digitisation project. When complete, the project will offer free access to searchable online text and provide a unique and important record of Wales’s intellectual and cultural life over the past 100 years.
The project has not been without controversy, however. No payment will be given to authors whose work is included in the digitisation project and, in addition, there is no in-built Digital Rights Management technology to prevent users printing off or ‘cutting and pasting’ text available online. To date, many leading writers – alongside the three major journals of Wales, New Welsh Review, Planet and Poetry Wales – have refused to allow their work to be digitised without some material benefit to authors. Negotiations for their inclusion continue.
For information on the Welsh Journals Online copyright debate click here.