Have you noticed books moving in the Reading Room? Let us explain...

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Many of you will have read in the Winter 2012 issue of The London Library Magazine that a substantial refurbishment of the Library’s Victorian Reading Room and North Bay will take place this summer. This latest phase — Phase 3A — of our capital project will see the creation of additional study spaces in both rooms and improved facilities for our members. Mary Gillies, Reader Services Manager, explains the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the preparation work beginning now.

One of our aims in the lead up to the refurbishment, and throughout the process, is to minimise disruption to members. While both the Reading Room and North Bay (soon to be known as the Writers’ Room) will have to be closed for a short time — watch this space for dates, which will be given well in advance — we will ensure that Reading Room and North Bay materials remain on site and on open access, not in storage or locked away. We have identified pockets of space throughout the Library where we can relocate books; identifying heavily used items and making these readily accessible, trying our best to keep similar types of material together and choosing the most suitable available space for each. An example of this is the planned move to bring different sized Reading Room atlases to open access shelving in The Times Room, where they will be easier to browse and consult using the upright angled bookrests. We will also try to maintain a relevant and useful collection in the Reading Room and North Bay for as long as possible before work commences.

As part of this work you may see a variety of staff members in unusual positions as they crawl, with as much dignity as possible, around the Reading Room and North Bay floors, and in and out of cupboards, pencil and paper in one hand and tape measure in the other. A large part of ensuring that we can keep this material on site and in a logical fashion relies on us knowing that each section we identify to move (often filled with various size books) fits where we want to put it, with regards to height, depth and width!

As you can probably imagine, this is a mammoth task that will require careful planning and organising to ensure that stock movement is logical and easy to follow for both members and staff. Over the coming months, as different material is moved from the Reading Room and North Bay, we will keep you informed with new or updated signage within the building, up to date information on the Phase 3 section of our website (www.londonlibrary.co.uk/phase3) and regular posts here on the blog. Please feel free to ask a member of staff to show you to the new location for something you are trying to find or to retrieve any items for you; there will also be an explanatory feature on Phase 3A in the Spring 2013 issue of The London Library Magazine, which will reach members in mid-March.

There are very exciting things ahead which will make using the Library an even better experience for all. We look forward to sharing updates and providing you with all the practical information you will need over the coming months!

If you have any questions or comments about this ongoing work or about the planned refurbishment, please emailcapitalproject@londonlibrary.co.uk  or contact the Development Office on (020) 7766 4704.

This short film gives an inspiring overview of the Library’s redevelopment, including both completed and planned phases. Librarian and CEO Inez Lynn, London Library President Tom Stoppard and architect Graham Haworth outline the Library’s vision for its future: