Staying with the theme of books and often talking about the british library, it occurred to me that some of you might never have been. Of course, it is a must for any tourist visiting our shores but i know many people living in london and its surroundings who have never had the pleasure of being in this fantastic space.
I’ll start at the beginning shall i?
I have always loved books so when i first came to london i started exploring its libraries. One day i stumbled across the british library and immediately felt a sense of beauty, heritage and the knowledge that this is unique. In those days the british library was housed within the british museum. Fast forward to 1998 when the new building at st. pancras was formally opened by her majesty the queen.
You can find 13.5 million books, 2.5 million map items and 300.000 manuscripts amongst the collections. It is the world’s largest library in terms of total numbers of items. It’s a major research library and you can find many items from many countries in many languages and in various formats, like for example, in both print and digital.
There is so much to write about this building. I will be brief but tell you some interesting facts!
The building is one of the largest public buildings constructed in the uk in the last century. There are 4 basements underneath the main building and the piazza outside, making it the deepest public building in the uk. You’ll find 11 reading rooms providing over 1200 places for readers and more than 200 miles of shelving. Total floor area is over 1.2 million square foot on 9 floors above ground and 5 below. Wow, right!
The move from the british museum and other 10 buildings to the site in st. pancras took 4 years to complete and was the biggest book move in history.
I use the library quite frequently and find the business & ip centre invaluable for anyone wanting to start, run or grow a business. They have really good talks, workshops and seminars and i always come away with tons of information. I also like sitting in the wonderful reading rooms doing research or use one of the public spaces and the restaurant to do some work. Of course, let’s not forget the wonderful exhibitions within the library.
Here is a little tour for you. We start with the outside gate, through the piazza and into the building. No one is allowed to photograph the reading rooms. I hope you enjoy some of it and that it might inspire you to take a trip when next nearby. Oh, btw, the last photogarph is a painting by patrick hughes. Have a look at this film which explains his reverspective paintings.
Do you like visiting libraries?