The South Wales Miners’ Library
The South Wales Miners’ Library is a hub of activity.
Not only does it function as a study space for Swansea University students, but as the main lending library for the Department of Adult and Continuing Education (D.A.C.E).
It also serves to help students doing the part-time courses offered by the university. The staff are all very friendly and helpful, and the library itself provides all the same services you would expect from the Main Centre or Bay Campus Library.
The staff go above and beyond to help the students who are only studying part-time.
One member of staff, Julie delivers boxes of books, from course reading and describes her work as,
Never two days the same”
A good insight into just how diverse a librarian’s duties can stretch. Julie delivers boxes of books, from course reading lists to the various community centres around South Wales offering the part-time courses provided by D.A.C.E.
In her opinion,
Community centres work quite well, as students like not having to travel. Most people have said they find the boxes useful, but don’t necessarily put the books back in and we have to chase them up!”
This service is particularly beneficial initially for those who may have not used an academic library before, and it is their first time studying a degree, or they may live off site and haven’t began using the library yet.”
Julie has also picked books up from students, at various locations, who may have forgotten to return them because of the business of life, especially mature students who have other responsibilities.
However, she says,
It is important students do not just rely on these ready-made boxes, and branch further out to find their own material.”
The ethos of the staff is very much geared towards giving extra support to these part-time students that the Main Library may not necessarily have time to give, and Mandy Orford describes it as,
– another way of supporting people in the community.”
There is an extensive amount of material available in the Miners’ Library, not just the collections visible on the shelves. As a volunteer, I have spent a large amount of my volunteering time organising private collections, sorting through pamphlets and leaflets, and learning about standard librarian duties. Some of the items I have come across include; a selected works of Voltaire; a guide to practical shot firing; communist leaflets; and conservative pamphlets, showing the variety of topics that interested the miners. Many of the items can be over a hundred years old, so are very fragile and must be handled with great care – some so delicate their spines are liable to break at the slightest movement. These are the sorts of books that are dusty and leave you with ink-marked fingertips, but it is definitely worth it, to be able to see such a wealth of literature.
The Miners’ Library will be moving to different premises at some point in the future. The services they offer will remain the same. The current high calibre of service will definitely continue, as well as a keeping the fantastic variety of information available.
For more information visit the website: The South Wales Miners Library.
S. Wales Miners Library,
t. 01792 518603/518693
Editor Note: Silke Davison, the author of this article is currently enjoying volunteering at The South Wales Miners Library.
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