The largest library in the world
Global reputation | Scale and importance of its collection
It’s the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued (over 170 million, with a similar number of visitors per year).
The library has been at the forefront of digitising historic material and it makes a huge amount available online, including medieval manuscripts and historic sound recordings. The British Library has been a legal deposit library since the middle ages, so it receives every title published in the UK and Ireland and most foreign titles distributed in Britain.
Once a part of the British Museum and housed in cramp conditions in Bloomsbury, since 1997 it has been in its purpose-built Grade 1 listed building near St Pancras train station.
It is a public body and a major research library with items in many languages and from many cultures, in many media formats. It holds many critically acclaimed and free exhibitions of its collections throughout the year.
For research, inspiration and enjoyment
Knowledge is power
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