So, I’ve recently moved house and along with all the usual stressful problems (ice-cream melting during transport etc) I just discovered that it’s going to be almost a month before we can get the internet set up. Yeah. A month. As you can imagine this made my flatmates a bit panicky thanks to their addiction to social networking, but as an online journalist it was basically the first sign of my own personal apocalypse. Add to that that we also wouldn’t have TV and I was about to hang myself. But thanks to this major first world problem I’ve discovered my new favourite London hideaway.
I’m betting most of you haven’t spent a great deal of time in The British Library, like The British Museum it’s easy to forget that there’s one library in the whole country whose status surpasses all the others. But in my quest to find an easily accessible internet connection I found myself giving up on Kings Cross St Pancras’ poor excuse for visitor wifi and stumbling across the road to The British Library. Why not? I thought, it’s a library like any other right?
It’s not. For a start its looks more like the library from The Beauty And The Beast than the local one I’m used to and before you even get near a book there’s so much more to see. There are exhibitions and events that run all year round, such as the On The Road: Jack Kerouac’s manuscript scroll, that’s on at the moment, and includes talks on the book as well as a preview of the film. There’s also permanent galleries featuring artwork, guided tours of the historic building, and a great little café-come-restaurant – a small thing true, but there aren’t many places where you can browse books and eat great food at the same time. Finally, in the library’s own words, there are 14 million books, 920,000 journal and newspaper titles, 58 million patents and 3 million sound recordings that you can browse to hearts content (if that’s what rocks your boat).
But my favourite bit is the mini study area near the café that I discovered whilst seeking out my precious wifi lifeline. There are straight tables and chairs for the serious types, wrap around desks for the technicals, and for us creatives there are a couple of sofas where you can log on and kick back. I am by no means the only person who enjoys working here and there are often very few places left, but its worth arriving early to grab the perfect spot to settle down for a little ‘you’ time. So here I am, checking my work emails and catching up on 4oD, sat on a sofa in my own little piece of paradise and something tells me I’ll be hear long after my new flat finally gets wifi.
For more information about what’s on at The British Library and how to get there click here.