Blog - View & Listen
As Library Lovers’ Month comes to a close, we’d love to hear more about you. What are your favourite childhood memories or the places you’ve lived and visited over the years? What are you working on at the moment? What are your hobbies and interests? And what are the things that you feel most passionate about? Having heard what you’d like to share, we could then tell you even more about The National Library of Wales.
This place is like a goldmine. Yes, it’s home to many of the nation’s treasures – the Black Book of Carmarthen, Salem and Yn y Lhyvvyr Hwnn to name only a few.
These items are undoubtedly part of the nation’s memory. They’re stored here safely so that both we and generations to come can know the foundations on which Wales’s present and future are built.
You can learn more about some of these treasures, and the Library’s role as home to the nation’s memory, in our Story of Wales blog series.
But there are also items here that contain information that would be gold to you – perhaps only to you. They are pieces of your story waiting to be discovered.
These could give your story a new meaning or direction. It could be part of your family’s past. The personal stories of our ancestors have the power to shape our sense of self.
It could be the story of your home, village or area which would allow you to see familiar surroundings in an entirely new light.
It may be an item or subject that sparks your curiosity or about which you already have firm opinions. Finding further information about it could change your understanding completely and alter your perspective on the world.
Here at The National Library of Wales, we work to bring our collections to people of all ages and backgrounds. We work with schools and communities, we attend family history and student fairs, and we deliver information sessions, practical workshops and volunteering opportunities. We support users in our Reading Rooms and we digitize collections so that they can be discovered online. As a librarian, few things compare with seeing the joy and wonder that these collections can create.
This Library, like many other libraries around the world, is in the process of transformation. How you consume, create and share knowledge has changed, and our activities and services are changing with you.
Sharing your story with us – your experience and knowledge – helps us to improve the services we provide to you. Surveys, enquiries, feedback forms, user testing, focus groups, interviews and statistical analysis are some of the methods we use to capture this information. And soon we will begin consultation on our new strategy; your response will contribute towards shaping the Library’s future.
So please tell us more about yourself, and we can show you that The National Library of Wales truly is a place to discover.
Last week, I finally got to view the following title A Journey in Time with its newly recorded narration that was carried out earlier this year. This 15 minute amateur film features scenes of the railway between Strata Florida(Pontrhydfendigaid/Ystrad Meurig) and the town of Aberystwyth. It dates from 1964 & 1969 and was shot by Daniel A. Daniell on R8mm film. The soundtrack was co-ordinated by Roger Humphreys and the commentary was written and spoken by Brian Hopton.
A fascinating film showing the steam age and well worth a visit to the Archive for a viewing.
Footage from our Archive has been used to make the following 20 part series ‘Reel History of Britain’ that’s beginning tonight on BBC Two at 18:30. For a taster of the series, follow this link.
At the moment, I’m working on selecting clips from the Archive’s collection for the ‘Small World’ Exhibition, which will open in the Library in October. I have been searching for audio-visual material which shows how Welsh people have discovered the world.
One of the most interesting films I have found is a welsh film called ‘Prydydd y Paith‘. The film was made by Wil Aaron in 1976. Bryn Williams, who moved from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Patagonia as a 7 year old boy, tells his story and shares his memories of life in the ‘Wladfa’.
The clips which I will select will be shown on a screen in the Exhibition, along with other interesting travelling artifacts from the Library’s collection and beyond.
I really like this aspect of my work, as it gives me an opportunity to familiarise myself with the collection and it will hopefully give those who visit the exhibition a taste of the Archive.
Yesterday I had a very long, but worthwhile and inspirational day, at the National Eisteddfod, which this year is being held at Ebbw Vale.
The National Eisteddfod is one of the most important, if not the most important, cultural engagement in our calendar, and each year NSSAW takes part in a number of events on the Eisteddfod field, mainly on the National Library stand.
This year we have on display some very interesting pearls from past eisteddfodau, and one gleaming gem, a film depicting the last eisteddfod to be held in Ebbw Vale. The 1958 event was rather special, as it was visited by Aneurin Bevan and Paul Robeson, who spoke from the podium.
Our special screening of the 1958 film was introduced by local historian Frank Olding, and we had the great pleasure of receiving Susan Robeson, grandaughter of the great man, as our special guest.
She was very interested to hear of any film material of her grandfather dating from his visit in 1958 had survived.
If you know of any such material, please let us know!
In the picture – Susan Robeson, Frank Olding, Iola Baines and Anwen Pari Jones.
Practically a full – and lively! – house for our afternoon screening of children’s cartoons on Tuesday.
We showed many of the classic cartoons that were made in Wales during the 1980’s and 90’s, including Superted and Sam Tân (Fireman Sam) and of course owr own Jerry the Tyke, from the 1920’s.
Jerry first appeared on screen before the era of sound and we were delighted to welcome Stephen Briggs who came in to provide piano accompaniment in the original style.
Today there are more Welsh language children’s cartoons than ever, many of them to be seen on S4C’s children’s service ‘Cyw’, but the experience of coming to a cinema to see them along with other children will always remain special, I’m sure.
This week, the end is in sight on completion of inspection on the Welsh Film Board collection which dates from the 1970s to the early 1980s. There’s approximately 30 film reel boxes left to inspect and re-can. This collection’s condition has varied and has included positive and negative reels, magnetic sound reels and cans of trims.
You can view a good part of the collection via the Archive’s viewing room by request. A few of the titles which are worth a look, to name but a few, are Gwaed Ar Y Sêr, Newid Ger, Chapels, Madam Wen, Ty’d Yma Tomi!, Hen Dynnwr Lluniau & Teisennau Mair.
Also, a dissertation on the Welsh Film Board titled ‘Cleddyf ym mrwydr yr iaith : Y Bwrdd Ffilmiau Cymraeg 1970-86’ by Dr Kate Woodward can be read via the South Reading Room of the Library.
At the moment I’m ploughing my way through all sorts of films from the collection to put together a short compliation for a client who has requested a ‘taster’ of the film heritage. It’s an interesting process – not only reminding myself of the striking images we have in the collection but also having to think how disparate clips can be knitted together to form a coherent whole. Yesterday I viewed ‘Llandudno – Naples of the North’ – a 1950s ‘period piece’ – and although it contains some lovely images I had to put it back on the shelf in the end because of its very bitty, staccato structure – clip after brief clip like uniform beads on a string – echoing the clipped narration! Another problem will be the sound: somehow the soundtrack will need to bind together sound and silent clips …. a bit of a challenge against a looming deadline!
Two notable European film festivals that are well worth attending this summer;
Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna
June 26 to July 3, 2010
29th Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Pordenone
October 2-9, 2010
This morning, an individual came in to view ‘Marian’s Story‘. The programme was part of the series ‘The Time of My Life” made by Red Flannel and BBC Wales. This programme features Marian Goronwy Roberts, the daughter of a politically active mother and a musical father. She recalls her childhood in Aberdare, her education, her meeting with her future husband, Goronwy O. Roberts (Labour MP for Caernarfonshire) and the landslide Labour election victory after the war.
There are also other stories by welsh women in the film collection, including ‘Rachel’s Story‘ – which features Welsh actress Rachel Thomas.
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