Letter : True to spirit of Reading Room

Share
Related Topics
Sir: I should like to set the record straight concerning the future use of the Round Reading Room.

Marianne Macdonald ("The final chapter for library classic", 30 November) suggests that the room will "lose many original iron book stacks" and "be cut in half by a glass screen". As part of our scheme to open up Robert Smirke's magnificent inner courtyard, the book stacks surrounding the exterior of the Reading Room will be removed. These unseen stacks mostly date from the Thirties and Fifties; great care will be taken in removing the one original iron stack (which was altered in the Thirties) and preservation options examined.

Any adaptation of the Reading Room will be unobtrusive and sensitive to the architecture and furniture. We should certainly not support Malcolm Campbell's solution of taking the furniture out of the very room for which it was designed (letter, 19 December). Indeed, those who visit the Reading Room in the year 2000 will see the interior restored to its original decorative scheme of 1857, the walls lined with books from the Museum's own libraries.

Our plans have at no time included turning one of the finest examples of library architecture into "a shopping mall" or, as Tony Garrett remarks (letter, 4 December), "a computer cafe". As any current reader knows, the Reading Room already houses computer terminals and many readers use their own lap-tops.

After the departure of the British Library, the Reading Room will continue to be a place for serious study. Far from being party to the signing of the Reading Room's "death warrant", we believe that we have developed a valuable and sympathetic scheme for its future use.

R G W ANDERSON

Director

The British Museum

London WC1

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Application Support - Unix, Linux, Windows, Bash, Perl, Python

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: An established leader in the Trading Syste...

Senior IOS Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Will Lord Patten be able to bring the Vatican into the 20th century?  

Say a little prayer for Lord Patten — the Vatican works in mysterious ways

Peter Popham
Brazil's head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari leads player Oscar off the pitch after the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil  

Mess up, and own up — The lesson from leading sportsmen that politicians would be well to heed

Andreas Whittam Smith
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil