Library and Enquiry Service — We’ll See You Next Week!
You may have noticed that our Search Room, Library, and Enquiry Service are closed this week. This is an annual opportunity for us to take care of the numerous background and housekeeping (or, rather, library-keeping!) tasks which tend to pile up over the year and to make sure that everything is ready for the year ahead. But even though this is an ‘annual’ event, it is something we haven’t done for a while, owing to the prolonged closure of the Search Room (but not the Enquiry Service!) during 2020–2021. However, since early last year we’ve been back and open to the public, and so we think that this closure is a good opportunity to remind you of what we offer when we’re open, as we will be from next Monday (22 January 2023).
Normally, our Library and Search Room is open to everyone Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 09:30–16:00, and Wednesday, 10:30–16:30. Our library has a wide range of books, journals, magazines, and reports related to the archaeology, architecture, and history of Wales and the rest of the world. You can search the catalogue here, or simply come in and browse the shelves to your heart’s content. A reader’s ticket is not required, although the library is ‘reference only’ so we don’t allow the books to be taken out.
Our Search Room is also where you can view our archival collections — the National Monuments Record of Wales. There is no need to book ahead, unless you would like to view a large number of items or wish to see items in our massive aerial photography collection (the largest in Wales!). But if you do, we’ll ensure that everything is ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Our online catalogue can be searched on Coflein, here, although as not everything may be on there, it is always best to ask our helpful Enquiries Team for help if you want to see everything related to a site or topic.
If you need help, or are not sure where to start, members of our Enquiries Team are always on hand in the Search Room to help you with your research and to answer any questions you might have about our collections, work, or even about the built heritage and history of Wales in general. Even if we don’t have the answer, we’ll do our best to direct you to the tools, sources, or people who do. But if you can’t make it to Aberystwyth in person, don’t worry! Throughout closure periods related to the global pandemic, we operated a successful remote Enquiry Service. That hasn’t gone away and is not only part of our commitment to provide an outstanding service to all users wherever they are in Wales (or across the globe!), but also our commitment to Wales’s future generations by helping to reduce travel to and from our Search Room in Aberystwyth. Of course, it may still be advisable or even necessary for some researchers to come in, but we will try to explore all options to find what best suits your needs.
Finally, we also offer closed sessions in our Search Room for group visits from school and university groups, local history societies, and others. These can include a talk from our expert staff, an introduction to our collections and resources, guided research sessions, displays of material from our archive, a tour of our archive stores, or any combination of the above. We also offer quiet sessions for researchers with additional needs. These can be on any day of the week, including on Fridays, when we are normally closed. Just get in touch to make arrangements.
You can find out more about our services by using the links below. We look forward to seeing you when we reopen on 22 January!
- Contact us: https://coflein.gov.uk/en/contact/
- Guidelines for Search Room visitors: https://rcahmw.gov.uk/services/new-guidelines-for-search-room-visitors/
- Our Enquiry Service: https://rcahmw.gov.uk/services/enquiry-services/
- Library Catalogue: https://rcahmw.koha-ptfs.co.uk/
- Coflein (site database and archival catalogue): https://coflein.gov.uk/en/
Dr Adam Coward, Library & Enquiries Officer