London's St Bride Foundation is appealing for last-minute donations to help it break even for the first time in almost a decade.
The charity’s financial year end is 30 June, and it is hoping to bring in the final few thousand pounds that would help it meet its target.
Chief executive Glyn Farrow said: "We are aiming to raise £5,000 which would mean we would break even at an operational level for the first time in many years."
The foundation is adjacent to St Bride’s Church, near the capital’s one-time print heartland of Fleet Street.
It is home to the St Bride Library, which contains more than 50,000 books and a vast collection of print-related artefacts.
The library has been closed to general visitors since January as part of a large-scale refurbishment project. Long-serving librarian Nigel Roche also stepped down from his position at the beginning of the year, and Holly Trant has subsequently taken over the management of the library and archive
Farrow said plans were well underway to make the collection more accessible, and that the library would re-open in September. In the meantime St Bride’s continues to fulfil urgent research requests.
"We have been carrying out the most enormous housekeeping exercise you can imagine, including reorganising the 3.5km of shelving we have upstairs, and we now have a complete team of voluntary conservators. We also have funding applications in for a proper team of staff," Farrow said.
"Everyone at the foundation has pulled out all the stops to get the library back on its feet," he added.
Last night St Bride’s hosted a special event curated by Eye magazine, Out of the Box, where a panel of designers were given unique access to the archives.
They enthralled the audience with an eclectic selection of items including Pensord Annuals, the work of Robert Harling and Ken Garland, Eric Gill’s Essay on Typography, items from the Caslon type foundry, and a largely unheard recording of Beatrice Warde speaking.
The evening was a sell-out, and Farrow said the intention was to hold more events like it in the future. It is also expanding its calendar of print workshops.
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