Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 206. Tuesday, 3 Sep 1991.
Date: 		Sun, 1 Sep 1991 12:12:13 -0400
From: 		Antonia Forster <R1AMF@AKRONVM>
Subject: 	British Library
Those among us who use the British Library regularly, or even
occasionally, might be interested in assisting the Regular
Readers Group's campaign to have the Round Reading Room retained
as a British Library reading room when the move to St. Pancras
takes place. Some of you may have seen Felicity Baker's piece
in the TLS and her follow-up; there has also been recent coverage
in the Observer, the Sunday Times and the Times. As matters now
stand, soon after the move to St. Pancras has been completed
(whenever that may be; the movable shelving is malfunctioning in
the tests, now that the library has discovered -- surprise, surprise!
-- that when shelves are not full, books fall over) the part-library,
not now to be completed, will be full, and outhousing will have to
start. Thus the one big argument for the new library -- that readers
would no longer have to wait a day or two to receive outhoused books
-- has weakened to the point of invisibility. The grand new increase
in seating has also gone; there will be more readers, as the
admission age is to be lowered to 18, but there will be only 73
additional seats. The computerization too looks set for disaster,
with inadequate numbers of terminals, a not-very-efficient or
user-friendly system, and inadequate manual backup.
     With these and many other points in mind (anyone interested
can obtain a copy of the report sent by the Regular Readers Group
to the Minister of Arts -- send 5 pounds to British Library Regular
Readers Group, 46 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3PA), not least
the beauty of the library and the pleasure of working there, the
RRG is urging the retention of the Round Reading Room as a reading
room for pre-1850 books. It is the post-1850 books, with their
crumbling acid paper, that are most in need of the supposedly
splendid conservation conditions of the new St. Pancras building.
The current British Library/ British Museum building has good
storage, much of it purpose-built (e.g. the magnificent King's
Library), for the pre-1850 books.
     The group urges you to write NOW to the Minister of Arts to
add your voice to this proposal. Write to:
          The Right Hon. Timothy Renton, MP,
          Secretary of State for the Office of Arts and Libraries
          Horseguards Road
          London SW1P 3AL
                                          Antonia Forster
					  William Williams
All those interested, please bring this to the attention of your non-
Bitnet colleagues.

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