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The latest news and views from Gladstone's Library.

My bleeding art by Suzannah Evans

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 11th October 2019

A couple of nights ago, at my Q&A event at the Library, an audience member asked a question along the lines of: If I cared about climate change, why wasn’t I writing political slogans instead of poems? A good question in these times of heightened worry for our world and our environment, and one that I answered briefly at the time, but which I think is very important to address more fully too. 


Digital relationships

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th October 2019

Every few years, there is a gathering of a unique set of clans. In the UK, they are called ‘independent libraries’, while in the US they are ‘member libraries’; in Australia, they are ‘mechanics institutes’. All are libraries that make their own way in the world, with small budgets and even smaller staff numbers.


Celebrating Libraries Week 7th - 12th October

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th October 2019

Happy Libraries Week!

From 7th to 11th October, libraries of all kinds across the country will be celebrating the valuable work we do and the valuable spaces and collections (and readers!) we look after.




    Get involved: Taste North East Wales

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 11th September 2019

    At Gladstone’s Library, we know Virginia Woolf’s quote, ‘one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well’ to be true. 


      The great book exchange

      by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 28th August 2019

      Perhaps you have encountered ‘lending libraries’ in the far corners of the Hebrides or on the bays of Cornwall. These could take the guise of a box perched on somebody’s wall, a wheelbarrow sprouting copies of childhood classics or those big red boxes with well-worn coin inlets, repurposed for reading and the exchange of ideas.


        The importance of collecting

        by Amy Sumner | Monday, 29th July 2019

        In an age of single use and throw-away products, we can often find ourselves yearning for something with a sense of permanence. No sooner have we bought the newest, shiniest iPhone than Apple releases the newer, shinier version, rendering our new phone a technologically competent, but intrinsically second-best space-filler. The same is true of cars, of clothes, of practically everything manufactured these days. The only thing that seems not to fit this mould? Books.


        A summer reading list

        by Amy Sumner | Friday, 26th July 2019

        C.S. Lewis once said ‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ This is a maxim which suits our Library team very well indeed; there never seems to be enough tea, and in spite of working in a library with over 150,000 books and printed items, we seem to race through good books all too quickly!


        Fragmentary manuscripts

        by Amy Sumner | Friday, 19th July 2019

        We are very lucky here at Gladstone’s Library to have access to around 130,000 printed items in total, including around 6,500 books printed before 1800 and some as early as the 15th Century. The majority of these older books come from a very small proportion of our collections: either our pre-18th Century collection, the Bishop Moorman Franciscan collection, or the Glynne-Gladstone collection. Many of these older books are kept in our Closed Access rooms in order to keep them in the best condition possible – but as a result, regular visitors to the library might not be aware of what treasures lie behind closed doors!


        De-accessioning in Stephen Gladstone Hall

        by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 09th July 2019

        Gladstone’s Library is embarking on a 24-month deaccessioning project on a section of its collections. This is the first review of the Library’s collections since 2008-10. Collection use and user demographic has changed rapidly in the past five years and the Library now has collection use data which can help it make decisions.


        Muriel Maufroy: Community book stall

        by Amy Sumner | Friday, 05th July 2019

        As many of you will know a dear friend of Gladstone's Library, Muriel Maufroy, passed away in 2017. Muriel's family kindly deposited much of Muriel's personal library to us, and many of the volumes have now been added to our collections for the benefit of all.


        Gladstone’s Library as a flexible space

        by Amy Sumner | Friday, 28th June 2019

        We can be quite traditional here at Gladstone’s Library: the Reading Rooms are silent study areas; we don’t allow food near the books; and ‘No, we won’t let you take that rare and precious Gladstone Foundation Collection book home with you tonight, Sir - we are not a lending library!’ In other ways though, we like to think of ourselves as quite innovative.



          Accessing our online library catalogue – service update (w/c 24th June)

          by Amy Sumner | Monday, 24th June 2019

          Gladstone’s Library is currently undergoing an upgrade of its online catalogue, MainCAT, as well as the database of Gladstone’s books and annotations, GladCAT. Both catalogues may be unavailable at unscheduled times during the coming week while these upgrades take place. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by this. 


            300 years of Welsh history: 1719, 1819 & 1919

            by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 19th June 2019

            Wales is a small country with a big presence. Integral to the history of the British Isles and attracting tourists from all around the world, it should be hard to overlook the history of Cymru, however it is often wholly conflated with that of neighbouring England to its disservice. Gladstone’s Library is an international institution, but we are very proud of our Welsh location that was decided by our founder, the former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who was English but spent around 50 years with the Hawarden Estate as his family home.



              A day in the life of a Graduate Work Experience student

              by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 06th June 2019

              While it's totally cliché to say this, no two days are the same when it comes to being a Graduate Work Experience student (GWE) at Gladstone’s Library. However, the motions we go through are pretty similar, and always full of valuable experience!



                Food for Thought closure - 30th June & 1st July

                by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 29th May 2019

                Please note that Food for Thought will be closed from the evening of Sunday, 30th June until 2pm on Monday, 1st July. No meals will be available during these times.


                  New for 1819! Books published 200 years ago…

                  by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 15th May 2019

                  At Gladstone’s Library we rotate our History Room display every month to focus on a different aspect of our collection. This month we’ve dug out some of our best examples of works published in 1819, exactly 200 years ago, to give you a taste of what people were reading during the Georgian Regency period of British history. 



                  The British Crime Writing Archive

                  by Amy Sumner | Friday, 03rd May 2019

                  Gladstone’s Library has, for three years, been home to the British Crime Writing Archive, made up of materials from the Crime Writers’ Association and The Detection Club. Martin Edwards, the Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and the President of The Detection Club has worked closely with the Gladstone’s Library team to make the collections publically viewable here at the library.



                    Notice: May Bank Holidays

                    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 30th April 2019

                    Please be advised that on the May Bank Holidays (Monday, 6th & Monday, 27th May) the Reading Rooms will be closed to all but residents and no Glimpses will be running.


                      On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

                      by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 23rd April 2019

                      On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day our thoughts and prayers are with the Armenian people, both the diaspora and those living in Armenia today.

                        Gladstone and the Romantics: our new April display

                        by Amy Sumner | Friday, 05th April 2019

                        Today when we consider the word ‘romantic’ we think of love and sentimentality, but the term ‘Romanticism’ had a much broader meaning, historically. Romanticism was a period which spanned the late 18th and early 19th centuries, emerging as a response to the disillusionment with the Enlightenment values of reason and order in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789. It covered a range of developments in art, literature, music and philosophy and William Gladstone himself would have been witness to its peak during his lifetime.





                        Play time by Oliver Emanuel

                        by Amy Sumner | Monday, 18th March 2019

                        My two year old daughter has been with me at Gladstone’s for the past few days. Like any parent of a toddler will tell you, her desire for play is tireless. Tell me a story. Let’s go outside. Shall we dance? I’m a monster. Rrrr. There is seemingly no end to her enthusiasm and joy for making things up and mucking around.


                        Susanna Forrest on walking

                        by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 12th March 2019

                        After a certain age your body lets you know that sitting for hours at a desk requires a degree of physical fitness. Via carpal tunnel, twanging hamstrings or a classic 'bad back', you discover that you are not, in fact, capable of eight hours on what the Germans call your 'sitzfleisch' or 'seat meat'. 


                        Dragons at Gladstone’s Library!

                        by Amy Sumner | Monday, 11th March 2019

                        Here at Gladstone's Library we are preparing for dragons...

                        On Tuesday, 12th March Gladstone’s Library will play host to an evening with playwright and March Writer in Residence, Oliver Emanuel. Oliver will deliver a talk on the art of writing without words, something he achieved with his play Dragon, where a young boy grieving over the death of his mother struggles to find the words to express himself and instead finds solace in a 10-foot dragon.


                          W.E. Gladstone and nineteenth-century international law

                          by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th March 2019

                          This month’s display in our History Room focuses around William Gladstone and nineteenth-century international law. This is a large topic and this blog aims to add some extra details that unfortunately wouldn’t fit into the cabinet! 


                            Sophie Mackintosh on finding a routine

                            by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th March 2019

                            One of the most beneficial parts about coming to Gladstone’s is the opportunity to be far away from your usual daily routine. It’s amazing how much energy and brain-space is freed up when you take away so many parts of every day life - cooking, cleaning, commuting, and even having a television.



                            Sophie Mackintosh on making time to read

                            by Amy Sumner | Monday, 25th February 2019

                            Having never been a Writer in Residence before, I was extremely excited about the idea of getting an enormous amount of work done before having to head back to inconvenient ‘real life’. Write one book? The library is open from 9am to 10pm every day, after all - the problem will be writing too many books, if anything!


                            Tales of the supernatural: the library’s hidden creature features!

                            by Amy Sumner | Monday, 04th February 2019

                            At Gladstone’s Library we rotate our History Room display every month to focus on an aspect of Gladstone the man, or our extensive library catalogue. This February I decided to give some of our lesser-known collections a little TLC by presenting a display on 'Tales of the Supernatural: The Library’s Hidden Creature Features!' Additionally, to give you all some extra background on this exciting topic, I’m writing this blog for our website.



                            Mothering Sunday at Gladstone’s Library

                            by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 30th January 2019

                            Are you looking for that perfect spot for Sunday Lunch, or something a little lighter over the Mothering Sunday weekend? Look no further - Food for Thought has a whole weekend of dining planned for the occasion for families to enjoy tasty food in a relaxing setting.




                            Hearth 2019 lineup announced and tickets go onsale!

                            by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th January 2019

                            We are delighted to announce the names of the four writers appearing at Hearth festival on Saturday, 2nd February. 

                            The intimate writing festival hosted our cosy common room offers keen writers the opportunity to pick up hints and tips, and ask questions of published authors about their experiences. It also encourages any with an interest in the world of books to find out more about the writing and publishing process.