New Face Covering Requirements in the Library

Following the government’s recent announcement of new Covid restrictions, DCMS have confirmed that face covering restrictions in venues such as libraries will come into effect on Friday 10 December.

From 10am on 10 December, therefore, it will be a requirement for anyone visiting the Library – unless they are exempt from face covering restrictions - to wear a face covering in all areas of the Library, both when seated at desks and when moving around the Library building. While the restrictions are in force, we will no longer be able to offer mask-free working spaces in some of our reading rooms and members are asked to retain face coverings at all times when using these areas. Face coverings will also be a requirement in the 6th floor members’ area but may be temporarily removed during the consumption of food and drink.

A supply of face masks is available at Reception for those who need one.

Find out more about our Covid arrangements here.

The London Library celebrated its Emerging Writers Programme on Thursday 25 November with a party for those who have taken part in the popular initiative which began in 2019 and which has seen 118 early career writers welcomed into London Library membership.

As part of the celebration, The London Library launched a free-to-download anthology of writing by the second group to take part in the Emerging Writers Programme. From the Silence of the Stacks, New Voices Rise Volume II is available to download from The London Library’s website and as an eBook on Kindle (costing £2). A limited print run of a physical edition will also be available in the coming weeks at £8.  

From the Silence of the Stacks, New Voices Rise Volume II is edited by Claire Berliner, Head of Programmes at The London Library and features writing from the group of 40 Emerging Writers who took part in the programme from 2020-21. The writers live across the UK, span a range of ages, backgrounds, cultures and nationalities and include poets, non-fiction writers, screenwriters and playwrights, novelists and short story writers, and some who write across multiple genres.

At the celebration, some of the 2020-21 Emerging Writers, Charlotte Forfieh, Marta Bausells, Freya Mavor and Daniel Marc Janes read from their anthology pieces. The party was also attended by those who have judged the initiative and other industry professionals including Isabelle Dupuy, Sara Wheeler, Valerie Brandes and Lisa Evans.

Philip Marshall, The London Library’s Director comments:

“The Emerging Writers Programme is specifically designed to provide support, expertise and resources to talented writers embarking on their journey towards a writing career. We are therefore very proud to be publishing this anthology of exceptional work from the second Programme cohort who, even through a difficult year, have shown great commitment and creativity and enriched the Library’s community.”

The celebration comes at the end of The London Library’s 180th year and in her introduction to the Anthology, Claire Berliner comments: “This year, The London Library celebrated its 180th birthday. It was founded all those years ago to offer writers, readers and scholars exactly what they needed to create and learn: books and other reading material; space and time; and a community of peers, all engaged in the same literary endeavour. In 180 years, those needs have not changed, but meeting them, particularly for those at the beginning of their writing lives, can be difficult. Thus, The London Library Emerging Writers Programme, which exists to open our unique offer widely and inclusively to a new generation of writing talent.”

Many of the 118 writers who have already taken part in the programme have benefited from increased awareness for their writing from the publishing industry by securing agents, commissions and publishing deals.

We’re thrilled that the Library’s 180th anniversary LitFest was Highly Commended at last Friday’s FutureBook awards event, organized by the book industry’s leading trade title The Bookseller. The LitFest was pitched against the Booker Prize (the overall winner), World Book Night, Penguin Talks and the VoyagerCon festival for the top award in the Events category and it’s a tribute to the efforts of the Library team – and particularly those of Head of Programmes Claire Berliner - that the LitFest has been recognised as one of 2020’s most prominent publishing events. Its success reflects the range and innovation of the online programming that featured no fewer than 51 speakers across three days, including Salman Rushdie, Sarah Waters, Tom Stoppard and Simon Schama, plus a specially created, staged adaption of A Room of One’s Own with Nina Sosanya.

The Library was also recognised for the outstanding efforts of its Postal Loans team which was shortlisted in FutureBook’s Team of the Year award alongside Penguin Random House and Hachette UK. Throughout the pandemic, the Postal Loans Team has run an enhanced service that has seen over 22,000 books sent out to members. Facing often challenging working and travelling conditions during lockdown and at a time when very few libraries were able to make their collections accessible at all, the service has been hugely appreciated by members. We’re delighted to have the Library’s events and postal loans recognised in this way and our congratulations go out to all the team members who have worked to achieve this.

We’re delighted that the Library has been shortlisted for this year’s FutureBook awards organized by the book industry’s leading trade title The Bookseller. The awards will be announced at the FutureBook conference on 19th November and the Library has been nominated in two categories. In the Events category the Library’s 180th anniversary LitFest – the remarkable online festival that featured 51 speakers including Salmon Rushdie, Sarah Waters and a staged adaption of A Room of One’s Own with Nina Sosanya – is pitched against the Booker Prize, World Book Night, Penguin Talks and the VoyagerCon festival for the top award.

In the Team of the Year category, the Library’s Postal Loans team vies with Penguin Random House and Hachette UK on the final shortlist. Throughout the pandemic, the Postal Loans Team has run an enhanced service that has seen over 22,000 books sent out to members. The team has faced challenging working and travelling conditions during lockdown and at a time when very few Libraries were able to make their collections accessible at all, the service has been hugely appreciated by members.

We’re delighted to have the Library’s events and postal loans recognised in this way and look forward to the 19th!

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