The Welsh Government is recruiting a new President and Vice President for the National Library of Wales to help lead it through a new and exciting era of strategic growth and development.
Based in Aberystwyth, the National Library – the only copyright library in Wales – boasts a collection of more than 6.5 million books, manuscripts, maps, photos and artwork as well as historic broadcast footage, and it regularly holds exhibitions and events for the public, at Aberystwyth and elsewhere, allowing people to experience the collections at first-hand.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the Chief Executive and Librarian explains why both these roles come at a crucial time for the Library, which is about to launch its 5-year strategic plan ‘A Library for Wales and the World’.
“The way the Library delivers its mission continually adapts to the changing world around it. Considering the effects of the pandemic and global warming, we have a bold growth plan for the Library to further digitise collections, become more environmentally friendly, and engage with communities within Wales as well as international audiences.
“Our plans will ensure that the organisation continues to adapt the way it works in response to the needs of modern society and deliver its mission effectively over the next five years and beyond.
“To support the executive and the Library the ambassadorial roles for both President and Vice President will be important as we develop new audiences and partners: they will be the public face of the Library as well as the driving force behind the Library’s strategic plan. A vital part of our plan is to decarbonise our and aim towards achieving an eco-friendly footprint as part of our green agenda.”
‘Engaging with international communities is key’
“Engaging with international communities will be a key element of these roles. The newly appointed President and Vice President will work to extend the reach of the National Library, looking to widen engagement not only with communities in Wales and the UK, but also by raising its profile internationally. The roles offer the opportunity to help shape the nation’s cultural identity.
“The National Library of Wales is one of the great libraries of the world, and we see Welsh culture and language as an extremely important export that will attract the attention of international readers and researchers interested in Welsh and Celtic heritage.
“Our unique and extensive collections are windows into Wales, and we hope we can contribute to the economic and cultural welfare of our nation by extending our collections and services to people within and outside of Wales. Developing new relationships and engaging with international audiences will bring huge benefits to Wales and the Library.”
‘The pandemic has accelerated our plans’
“The impact of the pandemic has in many ways accelerated some of the strategic plans the Library had planned for the next few years, with a major shift to offering more extensive digital services and online events such as seminars and online exhibitions available to all. The Library will take a lead role in influencing how the people of Wales engage with their past.
“Digital technology is central to realising our new strategy. We have been innovators in the field of digitalisation in culture and heritage for many years, and these technologies will soon permeate all of our activities and services. Being more digitally accessible will widen our reach but will also help the Library meet its green agenda.”
‘There are huge ‘green’ benefits to digitalisation’
“As members of the Board of Trustees, the successful candidates will work closely with the Library, with the Welsh Government and with the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner to help drive forward the Library’s vision of decarbonising its services and being an exemplar green cultural hub.
“There are huge ‘green’ benefits to digitalisation. Digital collections now enable people to enjoy our services and archives from anywhere in the world – they no longer have to visit Aberystwyth to access Library resources. This is significantly reducing our carbon footprint and is an extremely important development in regard to the Welsh Government’s targets for a carbon net-zero public sector in Wales.”
‘We are developing and passing on our vibrant culture’
“The National Library of Wales is a unique institution and holds the memory of our nation within its walls.
“Our exceptional Welsh and Welsh interest collections cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The National Library of Wales is the world’s main research centre for Welsh and Celtic studies and our collection of Welsh art is unparalleled.
“In the context of the Future Generations Act, developing and passing on our vibrant culture, heritage and language to future generations is vital, and we play a crucial role in securing and ensuring people can enjoy and benefit from Wales’ culture in years to come.
“The new President and Vice-President will value the importance of expanding the reach of the Library’s collections and will understand their responsibility as a caretaker of our nation’s diverse culture and history.”
‘The new President & Vice President will be highly influential’
“These new roles provide a fantastic opportunity for the National Library of Wales to continue developing into a 21st century institution, adapting to the changes and needs of a modern national library.
“The President and their Vice President counterpart will hold highly influential roles in Wales, they will also be a key component in driving forward the library’s strategic five-year plan, as well as act as ambassadors for the library.”
Where can I find out more?
Applications for the roles of President and Vice President are now live, with closing dates on 13 and 20 October. For more information, visit: gov.wales/public-appointments