Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and has 200 million items in its collections.  The library has been around since 1753, but has only been in its own building since 1997.  It was in the British Museum before that and was split over 19 different locations before moving to their current building.  At the library, they have underground storage that is equivalent to an 8 story building, but that only fits about half of their collection.  So they have offsite storage in Yorkshire which is 200 miles away that stores the rest of their items.  Their current building was never completed past stage one because of funding.  It would be cool to see what the library would have looked like if all of the stages had been completed. 

            In the middle of the library there is a tower, this is The King’s Library.  This holds the books from King George III.  It is six floors high with movable shelves that only rare book curators and library assistants can go in and retrieve books.  Inside the tower, there is a row of shelves that hold books from Thomas Grenville’s collection.  In the tower, there are 100,000 volumes with 65,000 being King George’s and the rest being Thomas Grenville’s.  Although the collection is in the middle of the library, it never gets direct sunlight because of the design of the building.  

In their Treasures exhibit, they have some items from the Beetles like the original song lyrics to Hard Days Night that was written on a birthday card and Michelle which was written on an envelope.  I think that it is pretty cool to see what the things were written on because of their sudden inspiration for the lyrics.  

Another cool thing that our tour guide told us was that they have Alexander Fleming’s petri dish with penicillin in it. 

(The King's Library)

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