Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
Banding data for 2013 released by Welsh Government
Secondary school Banding data for 2013 has today been published by the Welsh Government.
- Minister announces £10m funding to improve Cardiff Airport
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- Banding data for 2013 released by Welsh Government
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- Local authority environmental permitting fees and charges 2014-2015
- Alternatives to Waste Transfer Notes and other aspects of Waste Regulation
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- Undertaking fatal and non-fatal drug poisoning reviews in Wales
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
Oral - Safeguarding the Cardiff Rare Books Collection for the Nation
I am pleased to report to Members that the unique collection of rare books held by Cardiff Council library service has been safeguarded for the nation through a partnership between the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Council, Cardiff University and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The collection of around 14,000 items will be transferred to Cardiff University library at a total cost of £1.2 million.
Discussions on the future of the rare books collection began in 2007 when Cardiff Council announced its intention to sell items from the collection that did not relate specifically to Wales. This decision was the subject of much comment and public concern and a vigorous campaign was launched by the Cardiff Heritage Friends to keep the collection in the city. I asked my officials in CyMAL to provide advice and support to the city’s library service. Professional advice was obtained, which confirmed the significance of the collection as an important national resource. Cardiff University proposed that the transfer of the collection to the university’s humanities library would ensure that specialist care was available to conserve these items. I am pleased to announce that agreement on this transfer has now been reached.
This collection is a legacy of the cultural interest of south Wales’s wealthy Victorian philanthropists, who generously donated items from their libraries to the new Cardiff library, which hoped at the time to become Wales’s national library. The British Museum also generously supported the national collection with a gift of 800 items. In addition, Sir John Ballinger—the Cardiff librarian and a charismatic man who was later appointed as our national librarian—made shrewd purchases. The collection includes rare examples of early books, or incunabula, namely books printed before 1500; many Bibles dating from 1540; early atlases, including a world map that was published in 1492, a few months before Columbus reached America; a comprehensive set of seventeenth century Restoration plays; copies of Shakespeare’s second folio dating from the seventeenth century; and many examples of fine printing from Victorian publishers.
The breadth of the collection demonstrates the extent of the ambition of these early supporters of the library. Indeed, the collection provides an insight into the interests and knowledge of notable men such as John Cory of Dyffryn House and Rice Rees of Tonn, Llandovery. I have invited the university to arrange a viewing of selected items from the collection at an event in the Senedd in the autumn to enable Members to learn more about these national treasures.
Managing such an important collection presents challenges for any library. I am particularly pleased that the transfer of the collection to Cardiff University will result in many more people being able to gain access to this superb resource in the future. The university has agreed to catalogue the collection fully and, in time, place digital copies of significant items on the university website, enabling worldwide access. Subject to the need to preserve fragile items, members of the public will be able to view books from the collection at the university’s humanities library on request. I anticipate that items will be included in temporary exhibitions, which will be held in suitable locations throughout Wales, in association with outreach activities with schools. There is, for example, the potential to contribute to an exhibition in the forthcoming Cardiff museum, as the collection is an important part of Cardiff’s history. Cardiff city library service will retain a very important collection of books and manuscripts of specific Welsh interest. My officials will continue to provide support to the council in managing this collection.
The university has already identified that the collection will attract the attention not only of academics in Wales but also international scholars who will be encouraged to visit Cardiff to view rare items such as the Shakespearian second folio copies. There is the potential to arrange seminars and conferences to discuss research activities. The collection will also ensure that Cardiff University library will be ranked in the top ten libraries of the Russell Group of UK universities for the humanities. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has acknowledged the importance of the collection for research activities in awarding the university a grant towards its transfer. Wales will retain a truly world class academic resource for use by present and future scholars.
This positive outcome is the result of a professional partnership between Cardiff Council and Cardiff University, supported by the National Library of Wales, National Museum Wales and Glamorgan Archives to safeguard this outstanding collection for the nation. I am grateful to Cardiff Council for its willingness to identify a way forward that retains the collection within Cardiff, yet places the responsibility for forward management on the university library, which is better placed to exploit the full potential of the items. I was pleased to support the partnership through providing a Welsh Assembly Government grant of £450,000 towards the total cost of £1.2 million. Cardiff University contributed £500,000 with HEFCW providing a grant of £250,000.
Cardiff University now has the important responsibility of maintaining this rare books collection for future generations to enjoy and for providing increased access for interested users. I expect all the partner organisations to work together through these challenging financial times to ensure that Wales can benefit educationally and in a real economic sense from this remarkable legacy.
Libraries throughout Wales have an important role to play in safeguarding and providing access to resources that illustrate Wales’s history and culture. I was pleased to note that public library statistics for 2008-09 show that the number of library visits in Wales rose by 3.7 per cent compared to a reduction in England and Northern Ireland, with a very small rise in Scotland. In addition, Wales has seen a bigger rise in the number of loans and borrowers compared to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our investment in Welsh libraries is now clearly demonstrating that, by working in partnership, we can provide ever greater access to Wales’s rich treasures.