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I Spent the Night at a Library in Wales, and You Can Too

7 September 2019

From Smithsonian:

Hidden behind a grove of trees in Hawarden, Flintshire, a small village in north Wales located about 25 miles south of Liverpool, sits Gladstone’s Library, the only prime ministerial library in Great Britain. Named after four-term Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886, and 1892-94), the 117-year-old stone building is home to the late statesman’s personal collection of 32,000 books—part of the library’s extensive collection of 150,000 written works focused on everything from history and politics to theology and literature.

Not only does the library house one of the most comprehensive written collections on the island, but it also offers something the average library does not: overnight stays. As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, spending the night at a library curled up with a good book sounded like a dream come true. And I’m obviously not alone in my sentiment.

Gladstone’s Library welcomed its first overnight guests on June 29, 1906, right around the same time the library opened the doors of its current building. (The library’s history actually dates back to 1894, when it was housed inside the “tin tabernacle,” a corrugated metal structure located near the library’s current site.) Now, more than a century later, the library’s onsite 26-room B&B still draws guests from around the United Kingdom, Europe and United States who’ve dreamt of sleeping in a library for the night.
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[A]s a writer I couldn’t think of a better place to stay the night than a library. (Is experiencing writer’s block even possible inside a library?) After getting my room key and dropping off my bags in my guest room, I descend down the building’s wooden staircase to the main Reading Room. The only noise is the sound of the wood floorboards creaking beneath my feet. The sweeping, two-story room with its massive windows and arched ceiling feel like a scene pulled straight from fiction. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry immediately comes to mind.

Link to the rest at Smithsonian

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Libraries, Non-US

3 Comments to “I Spent the Night at a Library in Wales, and You Can Too”

  1. Ah, no, thanks anyway. Spending a whole night in what most libraries use for chairs would ruin what’s left of my back, and the stairs would do wonderful things to my knees.

    Two nights ago I did spend most of the night reading and doing research; from a big easy-chair, drink and a snack in easy reach as my fingers danced my across the internet.

    MYMV and you find things in a way you can live with. 😉

  2. I can see the appeal of spending the night in the library, but as for this bit:

    Is experiencing writer’s block even possible inside a library?

    Yes, yes it is. And even if you don’t have writer’s block, being inside a library full of books that you actually want to read would be sufficiently distracting that I don’t think I would be likely to get anything done no matter how inspired I was feeling.

  3. I’ve spent many a night in a library.

    In my case, it was a university library doing research and studying.

    And as Anom said, the chairs are not comfortable.

    No thanks. I’m done with that and like my recliner for reading.

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