The British Library did not come into existence until June of 1998. Before than, the British Library was part of the British Museum in the Reading Room. The library was moved because it needed more space for the collections and better storage since the collections were starting to be damaged. For this reason, the British government purchased the land for the library.
Today, the library has over 2 million books and has off site areas to house certain collections. The library brings in everyday 8,000 new publications. Anything that is published within the UK, a copy must be sent to the British Library. As when the library was part of the British Museum, the patrons to the library must sign up for a reading pass and be interviewed. They have to explain why they need to use the library.
My favorite part of the library is the part we didn't see. The storage for the library is 75 feet underground. It basically fills the entire land of the British Library. What's even cooler is that the Northern Line of the Underground runs right through the middle of the library storage. When the land was bought, the Tube Line was already there. Our guide, Heather, said that the shelves downstairs had to be reinforced and that befor the library even opens, the staff can feel the train go through.
Another neat thing was the Treasure Room. It has an assortment of books the library selected to show the public. I loved looking at the copy of Beowulf. It is sooo cool! I like the Treasure Room, but I wish we got to see other objects. The most we got to see was the art around the library and that doesn't interest me. I would of like to have seen the storage area or how a book is preserved. I know we can't, but that's whats interesting to me, not the art work.
A neat story Heather told us was how a doctrate student actually highlighted a book with green highlighter. It cost her £11,000 to remove the highlighter. What a fool! She knows she can only use pencial and that she can't check the book out to take it home, so why use highlighter? For a doctrate student, she wasn't that bright.
To learn more about the British Library, please visit http://portico.bl.uk/
The picture was provided by the blogger.