Local History Month 2017: Using the Library to Research


Since Local and Community History Month 2016 (blog here), the Miners’ Library has continued to utilise its collections to engage with both local and wider communities. Whether that’s lending Paul Robeson items to Jazz Heritage Wales for their 2016 exhibition in Swansea Museum, offering props and audio clips for Pain in the Arts‘ Spanish Civil War show or providing banners for MadeInRoath to complete their Red Route, we enjoy and encourage projects that allow us to support the community and showcase our collections.

The purpose of this month’s blog is to demonstrate that the Miners’ Library can be useful for those interested in local history. All students with Swansea University can borrow books from us and all members of the public are welcome to visit and peruse the collection. Members of Swansea Council Libraries are welcome to sign up here via the LibrariesTogether scheme – more information here.

For example, those interested in learning more about the Gower could use our online catalogue (www.ifind.swan.ac.uk) to find books, pamphlets and dissertations on that subject. Once you’ve followed the link, ensure the ‘Books & More’ tab is selected and search for your chosen area. It sometimes pays to be more specific although, if you’re just beginning to research, feel free to use  broader terms.


You can filter your search – by date, by author, by location – on the left hand side. If you want to see items only available from the Miners’ Library, be sure to narrow your search by clicking on the option seen below.


All the results now shown will be those available at the Miners’ Library.


The call number for the book – e.g. DA143. G5 > INT for the 2nd book – can be used to locate the book on our shelves. Staff are happy to help you find them.

Our oral history collections (the subject of this blog) also offer a fascinating insight into local history. Using the http://www.agor.org.uk/cwm website allows you to search through the South Wales Coalfield Collection and selecting ‘Audio’ will bring up any interviews we have that are relevant to your search terms. For example, a search for Swansea brings up an interview with Harry Stratton, discussing Swansea after World War II, Bessie Hopkins, discussing life as a domestic in the Uplands, and many more.

For those interested in topographical history, we also hold a number of maps of local areas. These chart the shifting industrial landscape of South Wales and can be viewed by asking a member of staff.