The Reading Room at the Wellcome Library
London does free cultural stuff very well. Our museums, art galleries and libraries are plentiful and hold some of the world’s most significant collections of art, exhibits and books.
How entirely satisfying it is, then, to find all of the above in one place and, again, free of charge. The latest incarnation of the Reading Room at the Wellcome Library (on the Euston Road in central London) is amazing. You can read more about it in this piece by RIBA.
It was a real privilege to be given a guided tour by one of our newest temporary workers, Sophie Drummond. When the Wellcome Library came to us to find a temp to work on Saturdays, I knew it would be a lovely job to present to our candidates. During the week Sophie is studying for her MA in Library and Information Studies next door at UCL then at the weekend she gets to put in to practice what she’s learning. Seeing her enthusiasm for working in such a fantastic place was completely infectious – I found myself exploring every shelf and exhibit over the next hour, becoming so engrossed I almost missed meeting my friends for lunch (most unlike me!).
As well as really interesting books (on topics as wide-ranging as science, travel, history, medicine…) there are lots of drawing-style activities for little people (and big people), an interactive display where you can dissect skeletons, fascinating pieces from the Wellcome collections and some very comfortable and funky beanbags on the plush carpeted stairs – giving you a perfect chance to sit down and carry on reading and learning.
When you visit, be sure to say hello to Sophie and ask her what her favourite piece is in the Reading Room. When I visited, it was a big book of maps of history, but I’m fairly sure she’ll have a longer list now!