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Prime Ministerial library launches ‘Sponsor a Shelf’ Covid recovery fund.

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Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library has launched a ‘Sponsor a Shelf’ Covid recovery fund to help it reopen in 2021 and secure the next chapter in its unique history.

The fundraising campaign is vital to the survival of Gladstone’s Library in North Wales which was founded by the great Victorian statesman and is a residential library that encourages people to read, write, relax and become inspired.

The library closed its doors in March in response to the global pandemic and had to make staff redundancies.

Thanks to funding from a number of sources including the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund, it was able to retain five members of staff and hopes to raise £100,000 to reopen next Spring.

Peter Francis, Warden and Director of Gladstone’s Library, explained: “As a library, we share Gladstone’s passion for ‘books and the housing of them’.

“The Covid recovery fund is inspired by that passion.

“It aims to support us in the months leading up to re-opening 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.

“With Christmas and a New Year rapidly approaching, the hopes of the world are for recovery and an end to this pandemic.

“Somehow it seems entirely appropriate that Gladstone’s Library should measure its recovery in shelves!”

For a minimum donation of £100, the donor’s name or the name of someone on whose behalf the donor has made the gift, will be linked to a shelf – a perfect Christmas present!”

The number of shelves in the main Reading Room is 1,001 and the names of donors will be recorded in two ‘books of thanks’ – one copy to be kept securely in the Strong Room and one on display in the Gladstone Room.

A list of names will also be displayed in the main Reading Room.

Peter added: “We have overseen a number of changes to make the Library safe for visitors when we reopen; the unique ambiance, the concentrated silence of the reading rooms and the conviviality of the dining room will remain much as before.

“We long for the return of the buzz of busyness: the tip tap of laptops, the barely audible turn of pages, full reading rooms, discussions over shared food or drinks in front of a roaring fire.”

The Covid Recovery Fund will support the following activities:

  • 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 storage
  • Create and sustain a digital programme of courses and events
  • Re-open and run the refurbished restaurant with table service
  • Help the library survive financially in 2021

Find out more about Gladstone’s Library Covid Recovery Fund 

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