Letter: Reading Room is for the use of scholars

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Lister, in his report on the latest of a long line of proposals from the British Museum ('Historic reading room must go' 26 July), suggests that the Regular Readers' Group of the British Library 'have lost their battle' to keep the Round Reading Room (RRR). Nothing could be further from the truth.

The National Heritage Committee has recommended that the RRR be kept as an integral part of the British Library 'in perpetuity'. Specious arguments about opening the room up to the public carry no weight when the RRR is a room in which people work, and the public have access already (albeit under supervision and at set times).

In 1990 the museum came up with an pounds 80m scheme. The management committed itself to keeping the RRR as a reading room. Somehow that has now been forgotten.

Not many people will be happy to see pounds 150m (the likely cost by the year 2000) spent on this ill- thought-out project - especially after the pounds 300m down the drain at St Pancras.

Yours sincerely,

BRIAN LAKE

Secretary, British Library

Regular Readers' Group

London, WC1

26 July

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