Accessing the Rare Books Collection

Consultation is by appointment only during office hours, 9 a.m. – 4.45 p.m., Monday to Friday.  However, if a reader has not made an appointment it may still be possible to consult the collection if a member of staff is available.  Items in this collection can only be consulted in the Rare Books room and researchers are asked to abide by the reading room rules.

The Rare Book reading room is situated on level 2, Library & Information Centre.

Telephone 01792 295045 or email dscs@swasnea.ac.uk

Contents of the Rare Books Collection

All items in the Rare Books collection are listed on the library catalogue iFind Discover (refine your search using LIC Rare Books filter). 

The collection contains over 1,700 printed books and pamphlets from 1473 to the present.  There are about 60 books printed before 1600, about 430 printed in the 17th century (such as finely illustrated editions of Camden's Brittanica) and over 550 from the 18th century.  

The books published after the 18th century include, for instance:

  • Books published in a limited edition of fewer than 500 copies.
  • Books published by private presses (e.g. Gregynog, Kelmscott and Golden Cockerel Presses)
  • First editions (e.g. by Dylan Thomas and Rhys Davies)
  • Books autographed by famous authors (e.g. Dylan Thomas)
  • Beautifully illustrated books (e.g. The Book of Kells: reproductions from the manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Books of local interest which may be difficult or expensive to obtain (e.g. Rhys Phillips, History of the Vale of Neath)
  • Books with particularly fine bindings

The Collection includes a collection of over 300 ballads (most of which are in Welsh) printed between 1710 and the early 20th century, each of which is separately catalogued in iFind Discover.

Frontspiece from the 1695 edition of Camden’s Britannia engraved by William Rogers

Frontspiece from the 1695 edition of Camden’s Britannia engraved by William Rogers

Engraving of Stonehenge from the 1695 edition of Camden’s Britannia

Engraving of Stonehenge from the 1695 edition of Camden’s Britannia