THE WEST WALES CHRONICLE HAS REPORTED THAT THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF WALES HAS WON THE PRESTIGIOUS ARA ARCHIVE VOLUNTEERING AWARD FOR 2016.
They said “‘Helping us to Achieve’, the National Library of Wales’s (NLW) scheme to expand access to Wales’ national archives by developing a cadre of skilled volunteers, has won the Award.
Sponsored by the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) and sector partners, this annual award recognises outstanding work involving volunteers within an institutional archive service.
The judges voted ‘Helping us to Achieve’ the clear winner. The scheme has been engaging with volunteers since 2012, including all ages and backgrounds, in the belief that taking part in cultural activity can boost skills, engagement, self-esteem and aspiration, and enhance participants’ workplace and social skills, while also helping make NLW’s national collections more accessible to a wider audience. The scheme has targeted specific groups – the young and economically inactive and older people – and the roles filled by the volunteers have included transcribing text, creating databases, digitising, research, conservation tasks and public presentations.
The judges said: “’Helping us to Achieve’ was the stand-out nomination in a very strong field. In 2015-16 alone, 65 project volunteers took part in the scheme, volunteering the equivalent of over 1,000 days of their time. They completed 10 projects and tasks; another 10 are still in progress.
769 online volunteers also participated in ‘Cynefin’, a ground-breaking project to geo-reference Wales’s Tithe Maps.
‘Helping us to Achieve’ has involved wide community collaboration and support, a diverse range of volunteers, and benefitted from professional archive staff support at the National Library, as well as top-management backing.
The scheme has also delivered at an individual level: around 20% of the volunteers have moved on to paid employment.”
ARA’s Chair, Geoff Pick, said: “Archives contain the raw material of our past, individually and collectively. They are hugely diverse, comprising thousands of deposits across the public, private and voluntary sectors, from big corporations and government bodies to community holdings.”
A volunteer said ““I have completed nearly 3½ years of volunteering. During that time I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I like the general atmosphere of quiet and calmness. This is important to me because my epilepsy is mostly stress related. I am not sure if my new-found confidence is helping my epilepsy (but) my slight improvement in health is increasing my confidence.”
Linda Tomos, National Librarian of Wales said: “We are thrilled and honoured to receive this prestigious award.”” here.