Gladstone's Library, Hawarden

By Rhian Waller - Gladstone's Library PR and marketing

Before the Christmas break, I witnessed a quiet but profound moment in the Gladstone Room.

I was at the end of a stay at Gladstone's Library, after undertaking a fundraising read-a-thon, and as I was putting a book back on a shelf, a woman said: 'Hello'.

This is a common thing at the library; although the Reading Rooms are silent study spaces, people are inclined to be chatty once they pass through the double doors and back into the main building.

Perhaps it's because there's practically a guarantee that everyone who comes here has something in common: they love learning or literature or both.

It turned out that the woman in the Gladstone Room was enjoying a celebratory cup of tea because she had just finished the first draft of her novel.

She was aware that a lot of work would come after this moment; redrafting, editing and, if she wanted to publish, finding a way to do so.

Even so, it was clearly an achievement and an important landmark in any writer's life.

We know of more than 300 books published that were written, in whole or in part, at Gladstone's Library.

There may be many others we are not aware of, as well as countless articles, book chapters, poems, theses, speeches, sermons, pieces of coursework and a multitude of unseen texts produced for work or for fun.

The woman in the Gladstone Room had put the last full stop in place on a manuscript of more than 100,000 words, and whatever happens next, that's a moment to savour.

It was a privilege to share it with her.

We're back after our Christmas break now, and readers and writers have already returned to Gladstone's Library.

I wonder what will be written here in 2022…