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Cardiff Librarian named Welsh Librarian of the Year

28 May 2014

Peter Keelan award

Aled Gruffydd Jones (President CILIP Cymru Wales) and Peter Keelan pictured during the awards. 
Photo: Dan Staveley (

Peter Keelan, Head of Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR) at Cardiff University, has been named the Welsh Librarian of the Year by CILIP Cymru Wales (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Wales).

The Welsh Librarian of the Year Award is presented to an individual librarian or information professional who makes a significant difference to either the communities which they serve or to the profession in Wales, and champions their achievements, impacts and innovation.

The Welsh Librarian of the Year was announced during the CILIP Cymru Wales Annual Library and Information Conference on the 15th May, where Peter was presented with his award by Professor Aled Jones, Librarian of the National Library of Wales, and Barbara Pacut from the conference sponsors, SirsiDynix.  

"It is a real honour and surprise to be named Welsh Librarian of the Year", said Peter. "I work with many inspiring colleagues on projects both within Wales and further afield, and the progress we've made collaboratively, especially around digitising archives and making these valuable resources available online, will continue to make a difference to academic research and public education well  into the future."

Janet Peters, Director of University Libraries, said: "I am delighted that Peter has been named Welsh Librarian of the Year by CILIP Cymru Wales. This award is very well-deserved, and reflects Peter's career achievements and his passion for the unique and distinctive in 'special' collections. He has made major contributions to the promotion of historical materials both in Cardiff University and across Wales, and is recognised as a strategic expert in his field."

During his career, Peter has been responsible for negotiating the rescue and donation of archives and special collections which otherwise could have been lost forever. Thanks to his efforts, and working with colleagues around Wales, key resources - including the Sir Julian Hodge archive, Victorian Children's Literature collection, UK Geneticists' archives, Daily Mirror journalists' archives, UCAC trade union papers, and 19th century journals - have been preserved and secured for research and education into the future.

In 2010 amid wide public and professional acclaim, Peter was part of the negotiating team that successfully 'acquired for the nation' the exceptional Cardiff Rare Books collection from Cardiff City Council, and the Heritage Minister hosted an exhibition at the Senedd to commemorate the event.

Peter also initiated the first ever use in Wales of 'Turning The Pages', the innovative three-dimensional digital page turning software developed by the British Library. The 'Turning The Pages' kiosk has brought Cardiff University's rare books to events across Wales including the National Eisteddfod and Hay Literature Festival.

Peter established Cardiff University's Special Collections and Archives as a central service in 2005, creating a state of the art education facility for unlocking the historical research collections in Cardiff, now used by local, national, and international scholars in every field of study.

He is one of the few professionals in Wales who is both a qualified librarian and a qualified archivist; and he speaks both Welsh and English. In his spare time Peter travels to fascinating historical centres, such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and most of the rest of the Middle East.

Find out more about Special Collections and Archives

Read the news story on the CILIP web pages

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