A message from Peter Francis, Warden and Director
Let me start by thanking all of you who have given so generously to our Recovery Fund and sponsored a shelf. It is still not too late to take part and for you or someone in whose honour you are donating to be memorialised in our main reading room and our books of thanks. This fund is vital for preparing us to re-open in the Spring. We are aiming for 1000 people to sponsor a shelf for £100.
We were delighted that our fundraising idea was cited in the Guardian list of possible Christmas presents offered by charities. We are so grateful to Charlotte Higgins for supporting us by writing this:
“Gladstone’s Library, in Flintshire, north Wales, is the only residential library in Britain, the basis of its collection being the personal library of the 19th-century prime minister (it is a kind of ancestor of US presidential libraries). Writers such as Sarah Perry and Naomi Alderman have worked on novels there through its excellent writer-in-residence scheme; it also runs public talks, festivals and courses, and a cheerful restaurant – all of which ground to a halt in 2020. (Full disclosure: I was one of the last writers to complete a residency there, in February, before the pandemic hit.) To help combat the devastating loss of income, the library is now inviting members of the public to sponsor a shelf in its beautiful gothic reading room for £100. That will help them get back on their feet – and re-employ their brilliant team – in 2021.”
Can I encourage you to follow Charlotte’s suggestion and sponsor a shelf? The names of donors will be recorded in two Books of Thanks - one copy to be kept securely in our Strong Room for posterity 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.
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.
Please be 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. We cannot wait to meet you at the Library again soon.
Warden and Director