The end of 2017 saw the renevation of Level D in Hugh Owen Library at Aberystwyth University. The new entrance and ground floor were formally opened at the beginning of January, and I was asked to write two short poems, one in Welsh and another in English, to mark the occasion. I took the opportunity to read up on the man who gave his name to the building, Hugh Owen himself (1804–81), and I realised maybe for the first time how much work, sacrifice and effort he made to provide education in Wales, for the people of Wales, something we often take for granted today. The renovation – and I hope Hugh would agree – complete with a massive photo of the library at the Old College draped over the far wall, makes it easier than ever before for us all to access education and knowledge.
Would Hugh have liked it? I guess he would
Have frowned at the fabric honeycomb,
The vending machines, Collections in chrome;
But then he'd have seen in the sepia wood
His own reflection, and felt at home.
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