As we all sigh with relief that winter is behind us and that spring is upon us, we turn to look at our diaries and with positive energy; plan ahead and create a list of ‘Things to do’! Whilst contemplating where to visit and what to see, why not head towards Aberystwyth where you will find The National Library of Wales and make The National Library of Wales one of your destinations during 2016’s Year of Adventure!
Ceredigion; and Wales in general is truly blessed that Sir John Williams’ vision over one hundred years ago was to establish The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. Geographically in the centre of Wales; the Cardiganshire coastline and this Victorian town makes a magnificent setting for the Library: one of Wales’ most important cultural institutions.
As well as being a national institution, a centre for research and family history; the Library is home to The Gregynog Gallery – the largest art gallery in Wales – and has held exhibitions by some of Wales’ most prominent artists. One of the most recent and stunning exhibitions was of Shani Rhys James’ work which showcased the gallery’s capacity at its very best. The gallery will host a touring exhibition from Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru – National Museum Wales until 28 May 2016: ‘Efforts and Ideals: Prints of the First World War’ which includes contributions from well-known British artists such as Augustus John, Frank Brangwyn, William Rothenstein and C. R.W. Nevinson. As well as hosting exhibitions, the Library also exhibits its own collections in the gallery, as well as in the adjacent Hengwrt area (an environmentally controlled space designed specifically for pre-1800 sensitive items), the annexe and the upper central hall.
This Grade II listed building and gardens; is truly a glorious site with stunning views over Cardigan Bay. The Library is the national legal deposit library of Wales, holding 6.5 million books and periodicals, archives, portraits, paintings, topographical prints, manuscripts, maps and photographic images. The Library also houses the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. With over 30,000 rare manuscripts; the Peniarth Manuscripts Collection (in July 2010) was included on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register; giving the collection global recognition.
A programme of events is published four times a year featuring information about the Library’s exhibitions, talks and presentations, and general visitor information. Find out more about ‘Hunting Glyndŵr’ with Mike Parker (13 April) or enjoy ‘An evening of Antiques and Anecdotes’ with BBC’s Antiques Roadshow specialist; Marc Allum (29 April). Most of the events are ticketed and these can be obtained online or by telephone.
‘Adventure is just a page away’ exhibition (3 March – February 2017) links in with the Visit Wales 2016 Year of Adventure theme and will feature adventure in Welsh and Anglo-Welsh literature including Roald Dahl. ‘Girguiding Cymru: Pushing the Boundaries’ (23 April – 3 September) traces the history of Girlguiding Cymru from its establishment in 1910 to the present day. A detailed list of themes and dates is available on the Library website.
Once inside, you will be greeted by pleasant, helpful staff at reception and will proceed naturally towards the shop which stocks quality, bespoke gifts; many by local artists, others of national acclaim such as Mari Thomas; who has won numerous design awards. Local artists; Lizzie Spikes and Valeriané Leblond’s work feature regularly on the shop’s shelves showcasing work which demonstrates their love for their local landscape and its charm.
Plan your visit around a little retail therapy in the shop and a meal at Caffi Pen Dinas. Located on the ground floor, with easy access to those of limited mobility; Caffi Pen Dinas boasts a range of quality dishes freshly prepared on site, including soups, salads and a selection of hot and cold beverages, not forgetting the mouth-watering range of homemade cakes, and has a top score of 5 for food hygiene. Whether you are ‘ladies who lunch’, a family with young children, or simply someone who wishes to indulge in a bit of ‘me time’; Caffi Pen Dinas caters for all.
The site has ample car parking facilities and is a ten minute walk from the town centre or alternatively the ’03 bus follows a circular route from the town centre, calling at the National Library and the Aberystwyth University campus.
Should your visit inspire you to explore behind the scenes, the Library offer free guided tours twice a week (Monday morning & Wednesday afternoon). These consist of a promotional short film, a brief history and overview of the Library’s work and collections as well as a special visit ‘behind the scenes’. The Library’s showy surroundings cannot fail to impress you. Book your ticket online or by calling the Library shop.
Make The National Library of Wales one of your destinations during 2016’s Year of Adventure. #FindyourEpic #Discover Ceredigion
Monday – Friday 9:30 – 18:00
Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales
Monday – Friday 10:00 – 17:00
Caffi Pen Dinas
Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30
Saturday 10:00 – 16:00
The Library Shop
Monday – Saturday 9:30 – 17:00
For more information about The National Library of Wales visit: www.llgc.org.uk