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British Library

National library of the United Kingdom / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The British Library is a research library in London that is the national library of the United Kingdom.[7] It is one of the largest libraries in the world. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million[1][2][3][4] items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Quick facts: British Library, Location, Type, Established,...
British Library
British Library building at St Pancras from the piazza
51°31′46″N 0°07′37″W
Location96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB, United Kingdom
TypeNational library
Established1 July 1973 (50 years ago) (1 July 1973)
Architect(s)Colin St John Wilson
Mary Jane Long
Branches1 (Boston Spa, West Yorkshire)
Items collectedBooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and manuscripts
Size170–200 million+[1][2][3][4] items

13,950,000 books[5]
824,101 serial titles
351,116 manuscripts (single and volumes)
8,266,276 philatelic items
4,347,505 cartographic items
1,607,885 music scores

6,000,000 sound recordings
Legal depositYes, provided in law by:
Access and use
Access requirementsOpen to anyone with a need to use the collections and services
Other information
Budget£142 million[5]
DirectorSir Roly Keating (chief executive, since 12 September 2012)
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameThe British Library, piazza, boundary wall and railings to Ossulston Street, Euston Road and Midland Road
Designated31 July 2015 (2015-07-31)
Reference no.1426345[6]
British Library highlights film, 2014.

The British Library is a major research library, with items in many languages[8] and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library's collections include around 14 million books,[9] along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and items dating as far back as 2000 BC. The library maintains a programme for content acquisition and adds some three million items each year occupying 9.6 kilometres (6 mi) of new shelf space.[10]

Prior to 1973, the Library was part of the British Museum. The Library is now located in a building purpose-built on the disused site of Midland Railway's Somers Town Goods Yard and Potato Market,[11] on the north side of Euston Road in Somers Town, London (between Euston railway station and St Pancras railway station), and has an additional storage building and reading room in the branch library near Boston Spa, in the Leeds district of West Yorkshire. The St Pancras building was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 25 June 1998, and is classified as a Grade I listed building "of exceptional interest" for its architecture and history.[12]