A guest post by Gail Renard
At a time when all we hear about is cutbacks, it’s timely to remind everyone of one of our most glorious assets and it’s free: the British Library. Everything you’ve ever wanted from books, newspapers, journals, sound archives and more is available to you at various locations throughout the country and on-line.
Everyone is welcome to visit the British Library and its exhibition galleries, or to tour the building. But to use the Reading Rooms you need to register for a Reader Pass. Pre- registration is easily done on-line; as is pre-ordering your material for your first visit. You can then present yourself at the Reading Room for registration proper and a brief interview before, hopefully, being granted membership.
It seems a normal reader’s temporary pass is for three months; a student perhaps up to a year; all at the discretion of the interviewer. But when I showed her my WGGB membership card, her demeanour changed and she beamed, 'Ah! A professional writer! In that case, we will happily give you a three year pass.'
It couldn’t have been quicker. It’s not often writers are lavished with respect and special treatment, but no one could ask for more at the BL. It’s one of the many advantages you get for being a Guild member. Savour it.