A message from Peter Francis, Warden and Director
Christmas and a New Year are rapidly approaching. The hopes of the whole world are for recovery and an end to this pandemic. That hope of recovery touches Gladstone’s Library too. We long for the return of the buzz of busyness: the tip tap of laptops, the barely audible turn of pages, full reading rooms, discussions over shared food or drinks in front of a roaring fire. We have missed you.
Over the last few months, I have been greatly heartened by the number of people who have asked “How can we help the Library?” It has been very moving and encouraging to know that so many people want to do something to help us get back on our feet. I am delighted to say that I am now in a position to answer that question by announcing details of our Recovery Fund.
Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund as well as other trusts and generous individuals we now have five members of staff working hard to make our building Covid-safe, revising our operational procedures and finding new ways of delivering our annual programme. That funding has been a real lifeline, but it only takes us up to the end of 2020.
The aim of our Recovery Fund is to raise £100,000 to support us in the months leading up to reopening in Spring 2021 and during the first few tentative months of trading. This is the amount we need to give us the best possible chance of a full recovery by the end of 2021. To reach our target, we need 1,000 people to each donate £100. Additional donations in multiples of £100 would be wonderful if you can afford to do that.
As a library, we share Gladstone's passion for 'books and the housing of them'. The Recovery Fund is inspired by that passion. Somewhat fortuitously, the number of shelves in the main Reading Room is 1,001. For a donation of £100, your name, or the name of someone on whose behalf you have made the gift, will be linked to one of those shelves – a perfect Christmas present!
Your donation will be used to help us:
- recruit / re-employ members of staff
- train staff in new ways of working
- ensure the Reading Rooms and collections are in order after nearly a year of non-use
- create and sustain a digital programme of courses and events
- re-open and run our refurbished restaurant (with table service)
- help us survive financially in 2021
Shelves will be allocated to donors on a first-come first-served basis. Please note that we cannot accept requests for specific shelves or areas of the collection.
The names of donors will be recorded in two books of thanks - one copy to be kept securely in our Strong Room and one on display in the Gladstone Room. A list of names will also be displayed in the main Reading Room adjacent to your sponsored shelf.
If you have missed us or if you have benefited from the Library and hope to return, please give to our Recovery Fund so that we can welcome you back and let the place work its magic on you again.
Thank you for being part of the next chapter in the history of Gladstone’s Library. Have a happy Christmas and may your hopes, as well as ours, for the New Year come true. I do hope we can meet again soon.
Warden and Director