Oh, My

Superturbo alerted me to this wonderful story today:

Frustration for authors as students hog British Library reading rooms

Oh, heavens. Surely not that. Students hogging reading rooms? What is the world coming to? </sarcasm>

Although there are 1,480 seats in the library, the author Christopher Hawtree was last week forced to perch on a windowsill while the historians Lady Antonia Fraser and Claire Tomalin have swapped horror stories of interminable queues. Library users complain that the line to enter the new building in St Pancras, central London, has recently been extending across its enormous courtyard.

Lines of people waiting to get into the library. How fabulous. However, some don’t agree:

Of the long queues she [Tomalin] said: “It is absurd. It’s access gone mad. Access has many good points, but making the British Library, which was for specialist readers, into something for general readers seems to me terrible.”

They’re letting the peasants in! Alert the authorities! Good God, how obnoxious.

The article ends with comments from the library itself, rather than cranky patrons who feel their unofficial social club has been usurped (emphasis mine):

The British Library does not deny that there is overcrowding. It has even produced leaflets listing other recommended libraries. But Phil Spence, its director of operations and services, said: “There are currently no plans to restrict the numbers of users.(Way to go, Phil. You tell ’em.)

He added: “We understand that busy periods can be frustrating for readers, but we are dedicated to delivering excellent services and carefully managing the increase in reader numbers during vacation periods.”

He confirmed that the library’s directors received performance bonuses depending on the number of visits.

Good for you, British Library. We should all have such problems.

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