Departmental Collections

Main Library

Conway castle

The Main Library houses the general book and journal collection that does not pertain to any one department. The core collection of reference works is also kept here, allowing good access for all staff.

General reference books such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford English Dictionary, Who's Who, language dictionaries and atlases all form part of this section of the library.

The Main Library also houses the rarer, often more delicate, items which are kept in covered bookcases, for security and conservation reasons. Another growing collection that is kept centrally is based on museum and conservation studies.

Archaeology & Numismatics

The Library serving this department has developed into one of the finest collections of archaeological books and journals outside London and Oxbridge. A particular strength of the archaeology & numismatic library is the section on the archaeology and history of the Roman empire.


The art library holds monographs on artists, exhibition catalogues, sale catalogues, journals and material from galleries worldwide. The monograph collection includes artists from the Renaissance to the present day, with particular emphasis on artists that are in the Museum's collection. The library also has books on ceramics, glass, metalwork and other decorative arts.

Biodiversity & Systematic Biology (BioSyB)


This is the Museum's newest department, created by the merger of the former departments of botany and zoology. The libraries of the two separate departments are still in different areas of the Museum.

The collections of the botany library reflect curatorial activities in three main areas: vascular, cryptogamic and palaeobotanical studies. The library has a large collection of British floras and also houses the CT & E Vachell collection, comprising books mainly on British flowering plants.

The zoology section of the BioSyB library has equally impressive collections with strengths in entomology, mollusca and ornithology. The library has a fine collection of books and journals on conchology, donated by JR Le B Tomlin in the 1940s and 1950s.


The geology library reflects the curatorial activities in the department with books and journals covering palaeontology, mineralogy, petrology and cartography. The geology archive also has a collection of correspondence relating to Sir Henry Thomas de la Beche, founder of the Geological Survey of Great Britain.

Industrial & Maritime Collection

The industrial and maritime section of the library is housed in Swansea at the National Waterfront Museum. The collection includes material on the coal industry, maritime history, transport and other industries, with emphasis on Wales. There is also a fine photographic collection of images relating to transport and industry.

National Slate Museum

The library at the National Slate Museum mostly contains books about the local area and related industries. Although there is a small collection of books on natural history in Wales, the emphasis is on the history of north Wales and the slate industry in particular.

Library Shelves

St Fagans National Museum of History

The library at St Fagans contains material relating to the social, working and cultural life of all classes of Welsh society.

National Wool Museum

The National Wool Museum has a small collection of books pertaining to the woollen industry in Wales. This collection forms part of the St Fagans library.