New National Librarian

Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones

Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones

25 February 2013

Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Department of Welsh has been announced as the preferred candidate for the position of Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales.

Subject to the formal approval of the Library’s Board of Trustees on 8 March, Professor Jones will succeed Andrew Green who will be leaving the Library on 30 March 2013 after 14 distinguished years as Librarian.

Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University congratulated Professor Jones on his appointment; “The University’s loss is undoubtedly the National Library’s gain. Aled has contributed enormously to Aberystwyth University over the past 33 years, as a distinguished academic head of department, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Pro Vice -Chancellor since 2005. We look forward to building on the unique relationship the University already has with our good friends and neighbours at the National Library of Wales”.

Speaking after the announcement, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of Aberystwyth University said: “The National Library is a vital Welsh institution. In thanking Prof Aled Jones for his sterling service to the University, we congratulate him and wish him every success in this new role.”

Professor Aled Jones is the Sir John Williams Professor of Welsh History, and is a Trustee of the new Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and Chair of its Research Committee.  A cultural historian, he has published widely on the history of modern Wales, labour history, the social and cultural history of journalism and on the relationship between Wales, the British Empire and the Indian sub-continent in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and has been an editor of the Welsh History Review.

Elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society he has served as its Literary Director (Modern) and as a member of its Executive Council.  He is also a member of the History Panel of the UK Research Excellence Framework and has wide experience of academic and research management and as adviser to the British Library and the Welsh Government. 

An experienced broadcaster and columnist  he was the joint organiser of the first Welsh International Film Festival and co-founder of the film and video arts collective, Creu Cof.  His recent research has focused on Welsh Protestant missions in India 1840-1966, and he was elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in 2004 for his work on the history of the Welsh in Bengal.

Sir Deian Hopkin, President of the National Library of Wales said:  “I am delighted that following an open and transparent recruitment process we have been able to find an exceptional candidate with the range of qualities and experience to lead the Library through the challenges before us. Aled Jones has an impeccable record of strong leadership and proven strategic competencies in higher education and has wide practical experience and a deep commitment to the digital information environment. He is the ideal person to take the Library forward as it strives to provide an exceptional service to the people of Wales".

Aled Jones commented on his appointment:  “It’s a huge honour to have the opportunity to lead one of our great national institutions, albeit at a very challenging time. This is a very humbling experience for me. I look forward to engaging with our stakeholders and users to see how the Library can best serve their needs, now and in the future, and also how we can reach the many individuals and communities with whom we have had very little or even no contact at all with in the past. In delivering this service, I will work closely with the Welsh Government, with the Library’s President and Board of Trustees, and the highly committed staff of the Library to ensure that we continue to be a world-leading and accessible information provider that meets the needs of modern Wales."

Professor Aled Gruffydd Jones, a native of Llanfrothen in Meirionnydd, Gwynedd was educated at Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech, and the University of York, where he graduated with First Class honours in History. He gained an MA with distinction and a PhD at Warwick University.

He joined the Department of History at Aberystwyth University in 1979 where he was the Head of the Departments of History and Welsh History from 1994-2002. He was appointed Sir John Williams Professor of Welsh History in 1995, served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and has been Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University since 2005.

He was joint editor of the Welsh social history journal Llafur from 1986 to 1992, and Literary Director (Modern) of the Royal Historical Society, and editor of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, from 2000 to 2004.

In 2003 he succeeded Professor Kenneth O. Morgan (Baron Morgan) as editor (modern) of the Welsh History Review. From 2005 to 2007 he advised the British Library on its newspaper digitization project, and has been a member of the History panel of both the Research Assessment Exercise (2008) and the Research Excellence Framework (2014).

In 2009 he was appointed a Trustee of the National Library of Wales and Vice-President in 2011. In 2010 Professor Jones served as the Higher Education representative on the Deputy Minister’s Expert Panel on Research and Development, Welsh Assembly Government.