A £2.25m rescue package to protect jobs at the National Library of Wales has been announced by the Welsh Government.
Over the last fortnight, the Welsh government had come in for criticism for seemingly being unfazed by the plight of the National Library where 30 jobs were at stake along with the future of some services being provided.
The Library budget has been frozen for a decade, which when considering inflation, it has been cut by some 40% and over the years it has lost 100 staff a reduction of 30%.
A petition calling for “fair funding” for the library had grown in support over the period and had reached over 14,000 signatures.
The government’s initial response, some week ago, was that there was no extra money available, then a few days later it said that it was “looking at every option available option to us to protect jobs and livelihoods at Wales’ national institutions”.
Rob Phillips, Prospect Union representative said:
“We welcome the additional money for the Library by the Welsh Government today as a first step in dealing with the Library’s financial situation. We’re grateful to the government for acting, but now we have to work towards a long term plan to fund the Library so that it can provide the services that are valued by the people of Wales”
“We now look forward to working with the Library management and Board to improve on the proposed structure, safeguard jobs, expertise, capacity and to implement the vision of a modern national library”
“We’d also like to express heartfelt thanks to all those who supported the campaign in any way; the response from the public has been phenomenal”
Commenting Gwynoro Jones who had called for the Welsh Government and Senedd members to ‘step up to the plate’ and that ‘future generations will not forgive us if we walk away from our heritage’ said:
“This is good news and the correct decision. However, the central issue is that the National Library must never be put in this situation again. It is essential that a medium and long term plan is developed to not only safeguard this great institution but to ensure its development in this digital age”
It has also been announced that an extra £3.95m will go to National Museum Wales.
The money for the two institutions will cover the current and next financial years.