The largest library in the world
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.