The Reading Rooms house over 150, 000 books including former prime minister William Gladstone’s personal collection, many of which contain personal notes and annotations written by him.
People from all over the UK and beyond flocked to our Library over the last year to enjoy the beautiful building, relax in the restaurant and attend events.
Visitor numbers were driven up in 2019 by another hugely successful Gladfest Literary festival in September which saw acclaimed authors such as Sunday Times Bestselling novelists Patrick Gale and Salley Vickers give talks and lectures.
An exciting 2020 programme kicks off with Hearth Festival on Feb 1st with talks from Young Adult novelist Patrice Lawrence, the new editor of Poetry Wales magazine Jonathan Edwards and a talk from writer Louise Gray about her new book which explores the idea of being an ‘ethical carnivore’.
There will also be a panel discussion with three writers including local Flintshire based author Miranda Kaufman about the lives of black Tudors.
The library, which is a cherished local institution, was opened in 1905. It widened its access to the general public in 2005 and is the only residential library in the UK.
We are also a registered charity which supports over 100 writers and academics a year in producing new research and new writing through their scholarship and bursary programme.
Warden of the library, Peter Francis said: ‘We are delighted to have welcomed so many people to the library over the last 12 months. It is a real testament to how much this institution is loved both by local people and also people who come from all over the UK and around the world to visit and relax in our surroundings.
“It is an oasis where people can be reflective and write or read in peace but we also have some lovely social spaces like our Food for Thought restaurant and our Gladstone lounge. The library really is a space where history comes alive.”
Director of Collections Louisa Yates said, “We are a progressive library. We are proud of our tradition of supporting new writers with our ‘Writers in Residence’ programme and we love it when the public engage with new books as well as the older works that are here.
“We are so excited about this year’s programme which kicks off with our Hearth festival and we are also really delighted to be welcoming Adrian Sumner back for a series of lectures and courses centred around the Victorians in February and March.”
To view our 2020 programme please click here.