About The National Library of Wales

Welcome to The National Library of Wales

The Library is situated in Aberystwyth, on the Ceredigion coast, and must have one of the best views of any Library in the world, looking out over Cardigan Bay. 

The National Library of Wales' purpose is to make our culture and heritage accessible to all to learn, research and enjoy.

NLW collections

We are a legal deposit library, which means we have the right to a copy of every publication printed in Britain and Ireland.

But did you also know that our collections include the following?

You can search these collections online. Some collections have been digitised and can be viewed online. You'll find further information along with a list of resources on our NLW Resources page.

The Library has two Reading Rooms which our users can use to view our collections. To do this you must hold a valid Reader's Ticket (free).

Visiting the Library

The Library's opening hours are Monday - Friday between 9:30 - 18:00, and Saturdays between 9:30 - 17:00. Please check our opening hours page before visiting for the latest information.

Entry to the Library is free as is access to the Reading Rooms (you must have a Reader's Ticket to access the Reading Rooms). We have a large car park on site (small fee payable),

These are some of the services offered within the Library building:

History of The National Library of Wales

Though there was talk of a national library for Wales in the 18th century, it was only in 1873 that a serious campaign started. A committee was set up to collect Welsh material and house it at the University College in Aberystwyth.

Leading Welsh people and Members of Parliament worked hard to establish a National Library and a National Museum. In 1905 the government promised money in its Budget, and the Privy Council appointed a committee to decide on the location of the two institutions. Aberystwyth was selected as the location of the Library partly because a collection was already available in the College. Sir John Williams, physician and book collector, had also said he would present his collection to the Library if it were established in Aberystwyth. Cardiff was selected as the location of the National Museum.

Both the Library and Museum were established by Royal Charter on the same day, 19 March 1907. The building on Penglais Hill above the town of Aberystwyth was begun in 1911, and was first occupied in 1916.

Several extensions have been added since then. In 1996 a large new storage building was opened, and in recent years many changes have been made to the front part of the building to make it more open and welcoming. A new Royal Charter was granted in 2006.

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