October saw the completion of the project to replace the windows on the Lightwell Room side of the St James’s stacks (the old windows had deteriorated beyond the point where they could be realistically repaired). We have now installed custom-made replacements which look nearly identical but are also double-glazed and reduce the levels of solar gain.
The windows replacement work has been part of a wider project to upgrade member facilities in the St James’s stacks with the installation of 12 new oak and leather insert desks and the improvement to the existing six desks. The new desks – installed in early November - will be housed on the three floors overlooking St James’s Square. To make way for them the modern metal bookshelves have been removed, and the books they contained have been re-located elsewhere within the Library. The new desks will expand the Library’s overall desk provision by nearly 10% and should mean that spare desks will be easier to find during busy periods. It will also help with our wider ambition to increase membership numbers, which as we have communicated previously is a fundamental part of ensuring a stable financial position for the Library.
We're grateful to members for putting up with the disruption and want to thank everyone who has given so generously to the windows replacement appeal. The Appeal has raised enough funds to cover all of the work, meaning that none of it now needs to come out of operating resources. The appeal is now closed but look out for the donor board that will be appearing soon alongside the new windows on the 2nd floor, as well as plaques recognising donations to name individual windows.