I’ve been dreaming lately – dreaming about sleep. Specifically, dreaming about sleeping among books. Something crossed my desk recently about Gladstone’s Library—a residential library in Wales—and the thought of spending some time there now resides in my waking and sleeping.
I have yet to travel anywhere in Europe, and I hope to “cross the pond” before too long. I’d never heard of a residential library, but now that I know such a lodging option exists (it’s the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom), I’m fantasizing about including its home, the Welsh village of Hawarden, on my itinerary.
William Ewart Gladstone, a Victorian statesman involved in the key theological and political debates of the nineteenth century, founded Gladstone’s Library in 1894. Following William’s death in 1898, the library became a memorial to his life and work.
Now it’s a meeting place (with twenty-six bedrooms at one end and 250,000 books at the other) “dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups, who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research in an age of distraction and easy solutions.”
The Library hosts a range of events and courses throughout the year, as well as Gladfest, described as “UK’s friendliest festival,” curated to feature writers who inspire participants to “think a little differently.”
And if all that reading and thinking makes you hungry, the library’s bistro, Food for Thought, offers breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner. And the library’s A-Z guide for staying there lists far more than 26 suggestions for activities within its walls and in the surrounding area.
I don’t know when (or if) I’ll make this journey to sleep among the books at Gladstone’s Library, but for now, my dreams—during the day and the night—are taking me there.