National Library of Wales awarded UK Archive Service Accreditation status

The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation, a UK-wide quality standard scheme.

Accreditation is supported by a partnership including The National Archives and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries division.  It defines good practice and identifies agreed standards, thereby ensuring the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of the UK’s archive heritage.

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri – fragments of papyrus containing details of everyday life in Egypt dating from 113 AD to the 4th century – is the earliest item held by the National Library, which is home to 2,500 archival collections and 30,000 manuscripts.

Lloyd George’s papers are among the records held in the political archive, while the Library is also home to the personal archives of some of Wales’ greatest literary figures, including Dylan Thomas and the Welsh-language playwright Saunders Lewis.

Cultural treasures such as the Laws of Hywel Dda, the codification of traditional Welsh law undertaken by Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) (c.880 – 950), are among the items in the Library’s parchment collection.

The Peniarth Collection includes an early and important manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, as well as the Black Book of Carmarthen, the earliest manuscript in the Welsh language, and the Chronicle of the Princes, the earliest account of Welsh history.  It was added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2010.

The Archive Service Accreditation Panel found that:

“The National Library of Wales has a clear mission and a unique national role, which act as a guide to its activity in all areas of its work and in understanding its audience. Its leading work around digital preservation and articulating a national conservation strategy, as well as its imaginative approach to developing volunteering opportunities, are among its many areas of strong practice.”

Avril Jones, the National Library of Wales’ Director of Collections and Public Programmes said:

“This award is a tangible recognition of the National Library’s success in preserving and making accessible Wales’ incredibly rich archive heritage and reflects both the skill and care of our dedicated workforce.

“To achieve accreditation, every aspect of how we manage our collections has been scrutinised and found to meet UK-wide standards.  We have also been found to meet the needs of users of our services locally in the Library and online.”