Day 16: Westminster Reference Library – We get all types of people here #30days30libraries

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Tucked behind the National Gallery, squeezed next to a building site, the Westminster Reference Library sits.

It’s very central; I had to walk past two floating Yodas to get here.

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From the long wooden table that I sat at, I could hear the roar of the trucks and construction from the building site next door and yet still the room adopted that quiet tick of productivity that I have come to know so well.

A man is working on a spreadsheet at the computer across from me, another is leafing through a newspaper, a bottle of water beside him. There are many other people tucked out of view, behind bookshelves, beyond the wooden bannisters.

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You won’t find your James Pattersons in this library. It’s mostly reference books but has three lending sections in business, fine arts and performing arts.

They have computers that have specific business programmes on them to help people who are starting their own businesses.

They have sets of plays that a group could borrow for a performance.

It’s a very specific library with a distinct purpose and yet the librarian who I spoke to told me, “We get all types of people here.

Some who just know that we have free wifi.

Others who come here to work. There is a quiet – well, as quiet as it can be with a building site next door- workroom upstairs.

Or we get people who are setting up their own businesses and working on their business plans. They come to use the reference books and the computer programmes.

We’re so close to the National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy, that it’s a good base for people working in the arts to use too.

All sorts.”

She showed me the list of online resources that you can access if you are a member which I had no idea you could get.

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I told her that I had to go but that I would definitely come back.

“Please do! Come back anytime,” she said.

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