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British Library
British Library
Address: 96 Euston Road
Telephone: 020 7412 7332
Mon and Wed-Fri 0930-1800; Tue 0930-200; Sat 0930-1700; Sun and public holidays 1100-1700; Closed 24-28 Dec and 1 Jan. Admission free


Introduction to British Library, London

The British Library moved to its new purpose built premises in 1998, it had previously been located in the famous reading rooms. The library is a huge resource for knowledge and has a copy of every book or journal ever printed in the UK. The library welcomes everyone, however they do not loan books. The library also has 3 exhibition galleries and in the summer months hosts free music events.

The library has some 200 books and manuscripts on permanent display including hand written work by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carol and Jane Austen. There are other famous exhibits on display, including Captain Scotts diary and a letter by Mahatma Gandi.

The Philatelic Exhibition will be of interest to keen stamp collectors and has displays of rare early stamps as well as examples of modern commemorative stamps.

  • The library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland.

  • The collection includes 150 million items, most of which are written in most known languages

  • 3 million new items are incorporated every year

  • The library houses manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings, music scores, and patents

  • The Sound Archive keeps sound recordings from 19th-century cylinders to the latest CD, DVD and minidisc recordings

  • We house 8 million stamps and other philatelic items

  • These require over 625 km of shelves, and grow 12km every year

  • If you see 5 items today, it would take you 80,000 years to see the whole of the collection

  • The earliest dated printed book, the Diamond Sutra, can be seen in our exhibition galleries alongside many other national treasures

  • We have on-site space for over 1,200 readers

  • Over 16,000 people use the collections each day

  • Online catalogues, information and exhibitions can be found on the website

  • We operate the world's largest document delivery service providing some 4 million items a year to customers all over the world.

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