Help Us Bring Light to the Stacks

Library Fund Update

Thank you to everyone who has supported this year’s Library Fund. Your donations have raised £87,000 towards a new lighting across the Library’s stacks - enough to cover the installation in the Basement and the Back Stacks.

Once installed, the planned lighting system will:

  • Protect the book collection from damage from UV light and heat
  • Greatly improve the everyday experience of using the stacks
  • Significantly reduce the Library’s energy consumption

We will be sending out more information in the coming weeks about the LED lighting project and what your support has achieved. Thank you again.

The Library’s lighting system in the bookstacks is over 30 years old and uses too much energy by modern standards. The existing system casts inconsistent light across the stacks and relies on awkward pull-cord switches, while the UV rays and infrared heat emitted by the lights damages the book collection.

We need to act now to replace the lighting with a new system that will reduce energy consumption and operating costs, improve the browsing experience for members and protect books. Please consider donating to The Library Fund and help install a new lighting system for the benefit of Library users, the book collection and the environment. 

A New Lighting System

The solution is a modern, energy-efficient and user-friendly systemreplacing the existing light fittings with the latest LED technology and pull-cord switches with passive infrared sensorsEach part of the system will be carefully designed to best serve the Library’s spaces and users, and will transform the bookstacks in three key aspects:

User experience 

  • Automatic sensors that turn lights on and off as needed
  • Even light coverage on all shelves, eliminating dark shadows, dazzling bright spots and unlit areas
  • Better light quality with sufficient warmth to be conducive to reading and browsing 
  • The removal of light switches and pull-cords, providing improved hygiene for all members and easier access for those with physical or visual impairment

Protecting the collection 

  • Eliminate UV light falling on shelves which irreversibly damages books 
  • Reduce infrared heat radiating from lights which degrades book page
  • Better lighting reduces the risk of books being mishandled

Financial and environmental efficiency and sustainability  

  • Low wattage LED technology that will reduce the energy needed to light the stacks 
  • Infrared sensors to ensure lights are only on when needed
  • An estimated 20% reduction in the Library’s total energy use, contributing to environmental and financial sustainability – the single biggest change the Library can make to reduce energy consumption
  • Further costs savings from reduced lighting maintenance and book repairs

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What your donation could fund

Completing the project will replace 1,184 existing fittings, but the improved performance and efficiency of LED lights mean that existing fittings won’t be replaced like-for-like. Decisions will be made once installation has begun on where multiple fittings can be replaced by a single new one. Based on the metres of lighting required to cover each area of the bookstacks we can estimate the cost of the project for the affected areas:

Library Fund pricing grid

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A Brighter Future in the Stacks

All donations to The Library Fund will help achieve the goal of an improved and energy-efficient lighting system. The impact of the new system will be wide-ranging, contributing to the Library’s environmental footprint and progress towards financial sustainability, and bringing immediate benefits for Library users and the care of the book collection.

Donate online using the button below, or call us on 020 7766 4795 to donate over the phone or by bank transfer.


LF Topgraphy and Shelves

LF Ceiling Stip LightThe Library Fund

The Library Fund is an annual fundraising appeal focused on improving the Library in ways that directly impact its users. How people use the Library is at the heart of what makes it a special institution. Supporters of The Library Fund help improve the Library’s collections, services and spaces to enhance enjoyment of the Library.

Find out more about past Library Fund projects