An Open Letter to Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales

WHELF: Welsh Higher Education Libraries Forum An Open Letter to Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales : The National Library of Wales

The Welsh Government has enshrined in legislation the key principles of inclusive citizenship, wellbeing and national prosperity in the 2015 Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act. A cornerstone of this is our cultural institutions and most notably our National Library. The current development of Digital Strategy for Wales further strengthens the role of the National Library, both now and for our shared future.

The role of the National Library in supporting the university and research communities of Wales and beyond is fundamental to our collaborative success as a sector and a nation. It both supports and preserves our national scholarly endeavors and acts as an important link and conduit for linking and sharing that knowledge and our shared Welsh culture and heritage here and across the wider world.

A library, particularly a national library, is not just a space, filled with word, images and objects, either virtual or physical. It is , the skills, the expertise and the passion which the people working there bring that enables the knowledge, rich stories and nations memories within to be preserved, shared, and provided with the context to be used and understood.

We understand the pressures of the financial situation and the pressures every organization and institution is under, but the National Library, any library, cannot function without the necessary resources and staff to do all the things required of it. There is little gain, and huge opportunity lost if the National Library of Wales were to fall into that position and thus be unable to bring its unique strengths to the development of Wales’ future.

We ask you to again look at this situation and seek to find a way forward and a long-term funding level that enables the National Library of Wales to sustain its role in our community and play its full potential part into the future.

Alison Harding

Executive Head of Library and Learning Resources, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

WHELF: Vice-Chair