Stop and Think before Selling off Rare Books; Tyndale Bible of 1525 Is on the Auction Hit List

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Byline: Abby Alford Chief Reporter

A CRUNCH meeting to decide the fate of thousands of rare books takes place today as pressure to save them mounts from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Cardiff Council is set to hold 11th-hour talks with academics to discuss the possibility of them retaining some of the rare texts after Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones expressed his "disquiet" over the plan to sell them off.

The authority wants to auction off 18,000 books, including a 16th century Bible, to raise money to improve libraries across the city. It has said the ad-hoc collection of books have seldom been used over the past two decades.

But the strategy has drawn criticism from academics, councillors and the public who say the important works should be saved for the benefit of the city and future generations.

Following a meeting with Mr Jones just over a week ago Councillor Nigel Howells, responsible for libraries in the city, agreed to take part in a round-table discussion today with representatives of the National Library of Wales, Cardiff University and the Glamorgan Record Office.

In response to a question from Plaid Cymru AM Chris Franks about the books, Mr Jones told the Senedd in Cardiff Bay he had met with council leaders to "express my disquiet at how things have been proceeding".

"We must not forget the First Minister and my predecessor met the council at the beginning of the summer," he said.

"We have now arranged a meeting between the National Library of Wales, Cardiff University, the council and Glamorgan Records Office to discuss the situation and to see whether alternative methods can be pursued in order to safeguard as much of this collection as possible. …