Bringing light to the stacks

Thank you to all who donated to the ‘Bring Light to the Stacks’ appeal, which raised over £90,000 towards the installation of an energy-efficient LED lighting system in the book stacks. Work on the 'Bring Light to the Stacks' project is progressing well – with positive user feedback to a trial test installation of LED fittings with sensors in two aisles within the Back Stacks. The next steps will be to select the light fittings that best fit the spaces and install up to 1,000 lights throughout the bookstacks.

Once installed, the planned lighting system will: 

  • Protect the book collection from damage from UV light and heat
  • Greatly improve the everyday experience of using the stacks
  • Significantly reduce the Library’s energy consumption 

Infographic 2022

Library Fund Past Projects - Enhancing enjoyment and use of the Library

How people use the Library is at the heart of what makes it a special institution. And while there are many reasons to love the Library, there are also small improvements that could enhance how people experience its buildings and collections that are beyond the capabilities of the Library’s operating budget.

The Library Fund is an annual fundraising appeal focused on improving the Library in ways that directly impact its users. Supporters of The Library Fund help improve the Library’s collections, services and spaces to enhance enjoyment of the Library.

The 2020/21 Library Fund raised money to support the Library’s COVID-19 response, while the first Library Fund, in 2019/20, focused on some ageing toilet facilities. An earlier appeal in 2018 to replace some severely damaged windows inspired the Library Fund’s creation. The 2021/22 Library Fund is raising money to install an energy-efficient lighting system in the bookstacks.


2020/21 Supporting our COVID-19 response

A truly fantastic response from donors raised a total of £208,424 for the 2020/21 Library Fund. The extraordinary response from donors meant The Library Fund met over 90% of the Library's direct COVID-19 costs, estimated at £228,000. This alleviated much of the direct financial impact of the pandemic and, crucially, limits the knock-on effect to the Library's ongoing efforts to reduce the operating deficit and ensure its financial sustainability.

Our Library Fund infographic presents some interesting facts and figures about the Library’s COVID-19 response and donors’ support for The Library Fund (click to view full size). 

Library Fund Infographic

2019/20 Refurbishing the red staircase toilets

The inaugural Library Fund campaign raised nearly £70,000 to refurbish the Library’s red staircase toilets. That refurbishment work was due to take place during summer 2020 and, while this ultimately wasn't possible due to the COVID-19 crisis, the funds are reserved with a view to the refurbishment happening in the summer of 2021.

Thank you to the record number of donors who combined to make the planned refurbishment possible. Work on the Red Staircase Toilets will begin in October 2021.

Library Fund Infographic

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Other projects

2018 The St James’s Building Windows Appeal


The 2018 Windows Appeal raised over £100,000 to replace severely damaged windows on one side of the Library’s St James’s Building. The replacement of the windows alongside some decoration work and book moves greatly improved the environment and comfort in this part of the building, and the success of the appeal enabled us to buy new desks, creating 10 wonderful new working spaces for Library users.

The response from Library members to the appeal, and the support donors gave to the work to improve how they use the building, directly inspired the creation of The Library Fund.