The South Wales Miners' Library was opened in October 1973 to house material collected by the South Wales Coalfield History Project. Funded by the Social Science Research Council, the project’s aim was to preserve oral, visual and written evidence of coal mining and miners in South Wales at a time when the industry had started to decline and valuable material was in danger of being lost. The project collected a wide range of material which forms the core of the South Wales Coalfield Collection. The South Wales Miners’ Library houses the printed book and pamphlet collections, including the libraries of over 60 institute and welfare halls from across the coalfield, oral history, video, poster, and banner collections. The manuscript records and photographs are held in the University’s Richard Burton Archives.
Since its opening in 1973, the South Wales Miners’ Library has maintained the educational traditions of the old Miners' Institutes and Welfare Halls by being developed as an educational resource.
Over the years, the Library has expanded its role in its support of adult education and widening access initiatives. These have included Miners’ Day Release courses, which were taught in the Library in the 1970s and 1980s, and the pioneering Community University of the Valleys, which was established in 1993. Today, the Library still works in partnership with the University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE) providing library, information and IT support to adult learners who are taught in community venues all over South West Wales.
To find out more about the history of the Miners' Library you can buy the book 'Do Miners Read Dickens? Origins and Progress of the South Wales Miners' Library: 1973-2013 by Hywel Francis & Sian Williams' copies are available from the library and all good book shops.