Flashing at Gladstone's Library?!

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Worry not, there’s been no explosion of nudity in the Reading Rooms! But new security measures are in place. Read on as our Director of Collections and Research, Louisa Yates, explains…

As all Readers know, Reading Room days begin the same way every day: Logging your name, number and time of entry on the Enquiry Desk register. Days end the same way, too; jotting the time of departure before heading out. This helps us build up a picture of our users’ habits and patterns. Thanks to your efforts every morning and evening, we now know that we had 10,935 visits to the Reading Rooms in 2016! These user numbers are crucial for our marketing, fundraising and audience development.

Sadly, however, not everyone visits the Reading Rooms to study. As we’ve grown busier, incidents of false sign-ins and invalid Reader and Friends cards have grown. There are also more staff (including new interns two or three times a year), and a desk rota that means the person who saw you sign in might not be there all day. We’re one of the most nationally important collections, and collection security is one of our highest priorities. Therefore, since April 2016 we’ve asked all our users, whether Friend, Reader, or Resident to work with us to increase security. You may have noticed the signs on the desk and just outside the Reading Rooms. This is just a reminder of the new regulations.

When you enter the library, please:

  • Sign in as usual. Note your name, time of entry and Reader /Friend card number or room number if you are resident;
  • Staff on the desk will check your card or room key;
  • Find a desk and work as usual. Place your card or key somewhere visible on the desk. This helps staff when we perform our daily headcounts, and also stops us disturbing Residents and Friends at 5pm when it’s time for Readers to leave;
  • Every time you enter the library, flash your card or key to the staff on the desk;
  • When you’re heading home, sign out as usual.

If you’ve forgotten or lost your card, don’t worry. The staff on the desk can check your record via the library catalogue, and will issue a temporary card for the day. You only get three chances, though, and then a new card is required! 

We’ve spent a lot of time developing this, and we think this is the easiest way of making sure that everyone who is using the Reading Rooms is a member.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Library in 2017.