“a residential library”
Gladstone's Library, known until 2010 as St Deiniol's Library (), is a residential library in Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales. It is a Grade I listed building. Gladstone's Library is a residential library, Britain's only Prime Ministerial Library and the national memorial to the Victorian statesman, and four times Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98). It is home to a unique collection of more that 250,000 printed items, including a renowned collection of theological, historical, cultural and political materials. The library was founded by William Gladstone in 1894. He was eager to share his personal library with others, especially those who faced financial constraint. He would allow bright children and young adults of the village of Hawarden to use his collection. His desire, his daughter Mary Gladstone said, was to 'bring together books who had no readers with readers who had no books'. In 1895, at the age of 85, William Gladstone gave £40,000 and much of his own library. Armed with only his valet and one of his daughters, William Gladstone wheeled 32,000 books three quarters of a mile between his home at Hawarden Castle and the library. He unpacked them and put them onto shelves using his own catalogue system. In a characteristically sparse diary entry (dated 23 December 1895) he concisely described the library's founding thus: "I have this day constituted my trust at St Deiniol's. The cost of the work has been I think £41 to £42000, including some charges of maintenance to Dec. 31. 95. May God of His mercy prosper it." Following his death in 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and to replace the temporary structure. The £9,000 raised provided an imposing building, designed by John Douglas, which was officially opened by Earl Spencer on 14 October 1902 as the National Memorial to W.E. Gladstone. The Gladstone family were themselves to fulfill the founder's vision by funding the residential wing, which welcomed its first resident on 29 June 1906. Today the library is a hub of activity and welcomes people from across the globe to visit, study and stay. It has 26 boutique bedrooms, a cafe, and a programme of events based around William Gladstone's core interest areas of religion and theology, history and politics, and 19th-century literary culture. Visiting the historic reading rooms and joining in order to use its collections are both completely free of charge. The library's priority is to build and nurture a wide network of writers and thinkers in order to maintain William Gladstone's legacy of engagement with social, moral and spirituality questions.
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