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Why doesn’t public library stock the Advertiser?

PUBLISHED: 01:27 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:37 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, I HAD been absent from the East End for June and consequently not seen the East London Advertiser. So I tried Bethnal Green Library, but their reference section no longer exists. At Whitechapel a receptionist had the key to the store room’ with a large selection of newspapers, not thbe one I wanted. I left having failed to find a single copy nearly half-an-hour after entering the Idea Store!

Dear Ed,

I HAD been absent from the East End of London for much of June and early July and consequently not seen several copies of the East London Advertiser.

Previously, I have routinely visited the Bishopsgate Library, where up to three months of copies of the paper are always available. But the institute’s library is closed for refurbishment until next spring.

So I tried Bethnal Green Library, but their reference section no longer exists.

At the Whitechapel Idea Store, I knew newspapers were available, on the fourth floor, but could not see where back copies might be. There were no staff around, only the woman operating the refreshment bar who could offer no suggestions. Back at reception I was told to go to the third floor, where a staff member would get the papers for me.

I circumnavigated the building on the third level, but there was no staff member to be seen. Again, I returned to reception. Two receptionists tried using the internal phones and finally, after a mini conference’ between them, one said I should accompany her back to the third floor—and she had the key to the store room’ and would find me the five recent copies of the Advertiser I was seeking.

Inside the strong room’ was a large selection of newspapers. Had I requested back copies of Tower Hamlets council’s East End Life’, I would no doubt have been offered half-a-dozen copies for each of the weeks requested.

Specifically, I requested two Advertisers for late June, three for early July. I was handed the six available copies, two dated February, one March, two for April—but none for the weeks I wanted.

I left the building having failed to find a single copy nearly half-an-hour after entering the Idea Store!

There was nothing for it but to look further afield. A bus ride took me to the Bancroft Library at Mile End.

I walked in, approached reception, stated I wanted the specified five copies of the < I>East London Advertiser, was asked to sit at a desk and in less than one minute was handed each of the five papers in correct chronological sequence!

The Advertiser played a great part in the massive campaign waged to save the Bancroft Archive and Library from closure, with the eventual victory won for this important institution.

Without The Bancroft, I would have needed to visit the Colindale Newspaper Library in north-west London that would have meant a good half-a-day travelling!

Dr Bob Potter

Swanfield Street, Bethnal Green


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