THE BRITISH MUSEUM: THE READING ROOM.
A copy of every publication issued in this country has to be sent to the British Museum; and the day must come when the present accommodation, large as it is, will be found insufficient. Our view shows the interior of the dome-roofed Reading Room. The circular bookcases surrounding the enclosure for officials contain the catalogues - some 2,000 volumes in all - and the readers' desks radiate from this centre. Excellent accommodation is afforded to readers: the desks are provided with a folding desk, a hinged shelf, blotting-paper, pens, ink, etc., and the room is illuminated by the electric light. The lower stage of the walls is lined with shelves containing some twenty thousand volumes, chiefly reference works, which may be used without filling up the forms provided for the books kept elsewhere.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896