Earlier this month I had the pleasure of spending a few days at Gladstone’s Library in Wales. Visiting this Prime Ministerial library gave me a chance to spend some time reading and preparing a piece of writing on the trafficking of cultural property and organised crime*. I wanted to share my experiences of this beautiful library in case there is anyone else out there who would like to escape and make some writing progress in 2017. Gladstone’s Library is a residential library so you really can spend days silently working in the wood panelled library itself, being sociable in its open spaces, or enjoying one of the courses delivered there. Many modern libraries have been rebranded as learning centres and it can sometimes be difficult to find somewhere that is a genuinely silent working space. Escaping the sound of cappuccinos being made, tinny music seeping out of headphones, and the frantic battering of dozens of computer keyboards can be difficult, but not at Gladstone’s Library. This place really is silent and also incredibly cosy. Sitting still for long periods of time in a Victorian building in December could have required a blanket but the library is warm and welcoming in every sense. The food is also excellent and there is very little reason to leave once you’re there! The only discomfort I experienced at the library was hand pain. I haven’t written so much with a pen since taking my exams as an undergraduate. The exam induced bump on my right middle finger came back after hours of writing, but this minor malformation is a small price to pay for being able to sit quietly and learn about something again.
So, if you need peace and quiet to write in 2017, you should try to get to Gladstone’s Library and enjoy an inspiring environment.
Happy Christmas everyone.
* Once I’ve finished my essay and received some feedback on it, I’ll share it.