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Petition to save National Library of Wales from cuts passes 10,000 signatures

25 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
National Library of Wales. Photo by csmramsde, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

A petition to save the National Library of Wales from cuts has passed the 10,000 signature mark.

It calls on the Welsh Government to provide “fair funding” to “one of the world’s great libraries”, and says it is a “repository of the historic, artistic and intellectual treasures of Wales.”

The library, based in Aberystwyth, is currently in consultation with its remaining employees about losing a further thirty members of staff, which is in addition to the roughly 100 posts that have been lost since 2010.

This would leave just 200 people in post, which is a number nowhere near enough to keep essential services running, according to its former librarian, Andrew Green.

The petition says: “We call for fair funding by the Welsh Government to the National Library of Wales, one of the world’s great libraries, a repository of the historic, artistic and intellectual treasures of Wales.

“With no increased support from Welsh Government, 30 jobs are to be cut and services seriously curtailed.

“Freedom, prosperity and the development of society and individuals are fundamental human values, attained by well-informed citizens with unlimited access to thought, culture and information.

“To ensure that the National Library of Wales continues with delivering comprehensive services to all, we ask the Welsh Government to increase its financial support, ensuring that it remains a gateway to knowledge, providing lifelong learning.

“Libraries cannot be expected to generate their own income in the same way as businesses.”

‘Compromised’ 

Mr Green wrote on Nation.Cymru: “Between 2008 and 2019 the Library has lost 40 per cent of its income. Already many activities have been cut back severely, and public services compromised. To put it simply, if these new cuts go through, and are followed by yet more, the Library cannot survive as a working institution.

“Anyone seriously interested in Wales and its history and culture depends on the Library for knowledge, and access to that knowledge will be harder in future. Ceredigion could lose a valued community centre, and exhibition spaces may close. Children would be deprived of the Library’s excellent educational services.”

Ceredigion Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to give the National Library of Wales a sustainable financial footing.

Cadan ap Tomos Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Ceredigion has written to the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Dafydd Elis Thomas urging him to implement a fair funding settlement for the National Library of Wales

National Library of Wales Chief Executive and Librarian, Pedr ap Llwyd, has warned that core services would be affected and up to 30 jobs would be cut if the funding situation isn’t urgently addressed.

Cadan ap Tomos, said:”The National Library is a jewel in Wales’ cultural crown, and we’re lucky that we can benefit from the significant economic and cultural impact it brings to Aberystwyth and the wider area.

“The recent Tailored Review highlighted that NLW are facing significant challenges in the years ahead. I know the Library wants to meet those challenges head-on, but to do so it needs the Welsh Government to keep its end of the bargain with a fair funding settlement.

“I fear what could be at risk if the Deputy Minister doesn’t act now – not just vital jobs, but a deeper understanding of our own history and culture.”

The Welsh Government has been asked for a response.

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