- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Three days after a roof fire broke out at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Joyce Watson AM says the “potentially devastating” incident highlights the importance of digitalising historical records.
In a statement released today (30 April), the Welsh government’s culture minister, John Griffiths AM confirmed fire damage was limited and that the majority of items affected could be recovered. He said none of the more significant treasures held by the Library had been affected.
Nevertheless, Mrs Watson said the fire should “focus minds on the need to back-up Wales’ national treasures”.
The Library reopened to the public today, three days after fire destroyed a 30m section of the roof of the Third Library Building.
Speaking in the Senedd earlier today, the Mid and West Wales Labour AM said:
“When the news of the fire broke on Friday afternoon I feared devastation. It is hugely reassuring that the National Library has reopened to the public today.”
Last month, the National Library of Wales launched a new free-to-access online newspaper archive. The £3m Welsh Newspapers Online project, part-funded by the Welsh Government, includes articles sourced from a host of now-defunct Welsh newspapers, including the Aberystwyth Observer, Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser, Merthyr Telegraph, Cardigan Observer, and General Advertiser For the Counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke.
Mr Griffiths confirmed he would visit the site on Thursday, to see the damage for himself and to discuss how the Welsh government can support the library.