The Southbank Centre redevelopment is going to include a new home for the Poetry Library (says the Guardian). Hurrah! The current library is filled with brilliant books and has brilliant staff, but it’s overcrowded to the point where I often have to choose between sitting so close to the next person I can’t turn pages without inadvertently nudging them in the belly, or sitting on the floor.
However, given the library is already in a space so small it makes me think of submarine movies (it doesn’t help that the great wheel cranks on the rolling stacks are like those used to seal bulk-head doors after a torpedo hit), I hope they’re not going to use the new development as an excuse to shuffle the library off to somewhere even less appropriate. The article says the Poetry Library will become part of a “new national literature centre.” A new literature centre sounds lovely, but I’m not sure I know what I’d use one for. However I definitely use libraries and would like a bigger one of those please.
But look, here is a link to the Southbank Centre Re-development Tell Us What You Think. We can point out the need for a bigger library, the need for a sound proof partition between the children’s library and quiet reading spaces, and the need for more space to hold poetry readings and events. We can also reaffirm the importance of having a library dedicated to poetry. While we’re at it, we can suggest they look at the much larger, brilliantly designed Scottish Poetry Library for ideas.
My only picture of the Poetry Library turns out to be an old photo of me, with a giant knitted poem, posing next to Dylan Thomas. Oh well…