Covid-19: some of your questions, answered.

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Since we've been open we've heard from lots of you, and we've put some of your questions to our Warden. If you don't see your question answered here, let us know via social media and we'll do another FAQ very soon.

How are all the staff at Gladstone’s Library?

We are safe and well, and working hard on several things: fundraising, so that we can make the building a safer, easier space in which to stay and study in the future; collection preservation, to keep our books and archives safely stored; and reviewing and updating our procedures and policies. We hope this will result in a Library which is well-equipped to weather crises in the future.

Why is Gladstone’s Library still shut?

We did not envisage that we would be closed for so long. But like many cultural spaces we rely on a steady level of trade and income in order to survive. Gladstone’s makes no huge profits and so has only tiny reserves. In order to make those reserves last until a steady level of trade can resume we have had to close. The understandable unpredictability of the pandemic and our country’s response makes it very hard for independent institutions to survive.

Let’s take the new restrictions in Wales, enacted in October, as an example; if we had opened in July, we would have brought back all staff from furlough and assumed all the normal monthly running costs. We would have had visitors and all would likely have been well for a while. But now, in October, travel in Wales is restricted - and as of Friday, further restrictions are being enacted. Institutions like ours are left with all the expenditure and none of the income – and frankly, the Library simply would not survive that.

Why do you have to be closed for such a long time? We miss you!

We miss you all too, and we would like nothing more than to be open again. Our re-opening date of Spring 2021 has been set with the hope that we can ride out the unpredictable waves of the pandemic and open when we are all feeling safe to travel. We’re staying in touch via our website and social media though, and we love to hear from you all.

We’d love to come and eat in the restaurant or purchase food to take away and surely it would be good for Gladstone’s to have some income during this period?

The costs to run the kitchen are considerable even in normal times, and with the extra costs of Covid security it would have to have an unrealistically high turnover to break even. Gladstone’s is close friends with many other institutions, both local and national, and we’re all approaching 2020 slightly differently. We’re all in regular touch so we have a good idea of the potential and pitfalls of various models of opening, and we are confident that being closed is the best way to ensure Gladstone’s has a future.

Why can’t you use volunteers to run the Library?

Gladstone’s Library is proud to be a Living Wage Employer and as such, we don’t use volunteers in roles which should be done by paid employees. Volunteers work on specific projects or, in the case of our Graduate Work Experience, are here for a specific time so that they can gain the necessary experience to apply for postgraduate study.

Can we visit the grounds while you are closed?

We’re very happy to see that people have been walking and visiting the grounds and you’re all very welcome. We only ask that you don’t sit on our benches, so that we can keep our garden volunteers safe. If no-one sits on the benches, then we know they are clean and safe to handle and move. Feel free to bring your own picnic blanket or folding chair! And of course, please be mindful of the changing guidance and restrictions here in Wales.

I’ve got a booking with you but I haven’t heard. What should I do?

Please bear with us, we have contacted many hundreds of people and we are working our way through you all. Everyone up until the end of February 2021 has been contacted. If you have a particular urgent question, or you have a booking before February 2021 and haven’t heard from us, please contact

I have gift vouchers which expire during 2020. Help!

All vouchers which expire in 2020 will be extended to 31st December 2021.

How can I help Gladstone’s Library during the pandemic?

There’s lots you can do! Mention us to friends, or post about us on social media. If you are in a position to help financially then please click here to read about the ways you can make a contribution.