Posted: 15.09.20 at 08:33 by Tim Lethaby
A fundraising bid is underway to secure the £5,000 needed to protect the future of the Library of Avalon in Glastonbury.
The Covid-19 lockdown has prevented the library from raising the thousands of pounds it needs annually to pay rent and insurance.
It normally raises funds by hosting symposia, lectures, groups and talks but this has not been possible this year.
Libraries are excluded from being eligible for the Arts Council Covid-19 grant and as an independent registered charity, the Library of Avalon receives no government funding.
Therefore an appeal has been launched on Facebook to raise the £5,000 needed to keep the library open until the spring.
Secretary and trustee Richard Newman told Glastonbury Nub News: "The Covid-19 lockdown has cut off all our income streams from symposia, talks and renting out our reading room.
"The Arts Council has refused to support libraries with the Covid-19 fund, so we may have to close this unique and wonderful library after 32 years if we can’t raise £5,000 by the end of October.
"If everyone who follows the Library of Avalon on Facebook donates £2 we can reach our target.
"We need this money immediately for insurance and rent. All money goes to the library which is run on an entirely voluntary basis."
The Library of Avalon started in the 1980s as a cardboard box of books but in 1988 a charity association was founded by a group of locals including Geoffrey Ashe, the renowned author who wished to promote the introduction of British mythology into the mainstream education curriculum.
Over 32 years it has grown and developed to a collection of subjects from alchemy and Arthurian legend to yoga and Zen.
Richard said: "Donations and acquisitions totalling some 17,000 books as well as thousands of pamphlets, rare magazines and some original manuscripts have built this into a unique resource for the Glastonbury community.
"It is housed in a small, unassuming yet beautiful medieval building in an ancient courtyard bounded by the great abbey wall. Guarded by a variety of dragons it has still been ravaged by floods.
"The latest was just last month, though new floodgates prevented a repeat of the disaster in August 2014 when I was confronted with a foot of muddy water, that had been left by a torrential flood resulting in the loss of 2,000 books and all the bookcases. It took us nine months of hard work to rebuild.
"By the spring, we hope to have a new plan for financing this modern-day equivalent to the Glastonbury Abbey library, renowned in its day as the greatest library in Christendom.
"The library is run entirely by a wonderful group of volunteer librarians. We are hoping to re-open shortly to the public for access in limited numbers to our books and reading room."
The campaign has had a good start already, with nearly two thirds of the amount raised. To help, you can visit the donation page here.
If you don't have a Facebook account, you can go to the library's website donation page here, scroll down, click on the donate button and donate either with your debit/credit card or with Paypal.