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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 08:59 GMT
Centenary celebrations at library
National Library of Wales (Janet Joel)
The library was set up following a 34-year campaign
The National Library of Wales is celebrating its centenary by staging its largest-ever exhibition of its collections.

This is one of a number of events to mark the 100th anniversary of its establishment on 19 March, 1907.

The library has more than five million publications, with more than a million of them available online.

The exhibition, called In this Place, will feature the library's most important works and run until November.

The founding of the library was the culmination of 34 years of campaigning for a national library for Wales.

The campaign was launched at a meeting at the National Eisteddfod at Mold in 1873, inspired by the successful campaign for the University of Wales which had been founded the year before.

As well as millions of books, the library houses manuscripts, works of art, films and political archives.

"Visual treasures"

The centenary exhibition will put many of the library's most important collections brought together for the first time.

On show will be the Black Book of Carmarthen, the original manuscript of the Welsh national anthem, the world's oldest manuscript of the Canterbury Tales (the Hengwrt Chaucer) and the works of artists such as JMW Turner and Kyffin Williams.

Jeff Towns, owner of Dylan's book shop in Swansea, said the library was not just a collection of "dusty, oldie mouldy books".

"It is a great research tool for scholars, students, writers and authors but it is also full of absolutely magnificent visual treasures; photographs, works of art and magnificent books and manuscripts," he said.

"I would urge people that it is well worth a drive to Aberystwyth because the National Library of Wales is more than dusty books."

The exhibition will be launched at 1415 GMT with a procession of the Black Book of Carmarthen - one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written in Welsh - and the Library's founding 1907 royal charter.

The centenary celebrations will also feature smaller exhibitions including one on some of the 800,000 photographs in the Library's collection.

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