Good morning colleagues.
My thanks to Andrew for that introduction and to the Deputy Minister for his speech. I commend him and his colleagues in the Welsh Government on everything they are doing to make life better and fairer for the people of Wales. I wish we had more of their like in Westminster.
As librarians and information professionals, I believe you are living and working in the early days of a better Wales. A Wales that is ambitious for its people, proud of its history and optimistic about its future.
And our profession has such a fundamental role to play in building that better Wales.
I have been excited to follow the impact of the Transformation Capital Grant Programme - the far-sighted investment of £1.35m - announced by the Minister last year - to modernise and update venues across Wales, including the libraries in Ringland, Pyle and Tonypandy.
I welcome the announcement of a further £300,000 investment in the transformation and modernisation of Flint Library to include a community kitchen, an event and exhibition space and a communal garden.
I have been impressed with the work of Libraries Wales in improving the provision of audiobooks, helping blind and partially-sighted people to get more from their library services.
I was delighted to hear the Minister for Education Kirsty Williams AM launching the new Quick Reads titles at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. The titles celebrate Welshness and the Welsh way of life - one detailing the life and times of the Welsh football star Natasha Harding and the other following Welsh farmers Wil and Aeron on their adventures from Norway to Peru, Romania and Scotland.
In so many ways, the Welsh library and information community reflects the best of what we are capable of as a sector.
Yet, we know too that individually, nationally in Wales and indeed across the whole of the UK, or profession continues to face serious challenges. Just this morning I received an email from a team of digital and information literacy specialists at an award-winning FE college that - despite an intervention from CILIP - they are to be made redundant.
It is a testament to them that, facing an uncertain future, their concern is less for themselves and more for the students who will no longer receive the unique support of dedicated information professionals.
CILIP believes that every school child has a right to benefit from a dedicated, skilled school librarian. Every community has a right to the support of a high-quality local library - properly stocked and staffed. Every FE college and University student has a right to the enhanced support of a librarian or information professional.
Every patient, carer and family has a right to the comfort and security of knowing that life-changing decisions about their health will be based on the best available evidence.
Every business needs to ensure that they have the skills to make the most of their information assets.
This is the vision that drives and motivates us in our work at CILIP, both here in Wales and across the rest of the UK. I want us to look ahead, together as a profession, not at what we want to fight against, but around a shared vision of what we are fighting for - a better Wales, a better society, a stronger, fairer economy, built on the foundations of librarianship - freedom, equality, social justice. The right to question. The right to learn.
Today's conference is a celebration of that vision and of those values. I look forward to hearing today's speakers and I wish you an excellent conference.
Headline image is Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, CILIP Cymru Wales Chair Andrew Eynon, CILIP Vice President Judy Broady-Preston and CILIP CEO Nick Poole.