Through its unique, world-class collections and its unrivalled expertise and services, both onsite and online, the British Library is creating new economic, social and cultural value. The theme of this year’s Report is ‘The Power of Partnership’, focusing on the Library’s work with leading partners in both the public and commercial sectors to broaden our range of services for users and offer greater access to our collections.
Among the many highlights included in the Annual Report 2011/12 are:
Dame Lynne Brindley reflecting on her 12 years as Chief Executive of the British Library, says, ‘During my 12 years as Chief Executive, the Library has reached out to a wider public to ensure that all who need to use us more easily can. I am proud to have led such a wonderful institution and pleased that today the Library is so widely recognised as a national treasure and a world leader.’
Dame Lynne adds: ‘The British Library is numbered among the greatest libraries of the world. The challenge before us is how to sustain that position.’
The Report cites digitisation as a critical means by which the Library can open up access to its collections. As well as partnering with brightsolid
to digitise newspapers, the British Library
announced an important partnership with Google
to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from our collections over the next five years.
Advances in digital storage facilities are also championed, as the Library prepares its infrastructure for the anticipated completion of non-print legal deposit regulation. As well as electronic storage, major steps were taken in addressing the challenges of physical storage. The move of seven million items into a new storage building in Boston Spa was completed at the beginning of 2012.
The Library’s position as the leading partner in Datacite
, the global network which makes data easier to find, access and re-use, was highlighted as a further major achievement for the Library, implementing the Library’s strategic priority to support research communities and enable access to resources.
The Library also made some important acquisitions in 2011/12. Major acquisitions included:
- The 7th century St Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest European book to survive intact, was acquired after a successful fundraising campaign to raise £9 million, the largest amount the Library has ever raised for an acquisition
- The draft score of ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’, one of the most famous compositions by Sir Benjamin Britten
- Poetic and literary drafts spanning the whole career of poet Wendy Cope, giving an insight into her creative process
- The archive of James Berry OBE, which joins a wider collection illustrating the impact that Caribbean writers have made on British cultural life
The Library’s relationship with the Arts and Humanities Research Council
(ARHC) developed strongly in 2011/12. A major three year research project funded by the ARHC culminated in the opening of a landmark exhibition Royal Manuscripts:The Genius of Illumination
, which displayed 154 richly illustrated manuscripts that once belonged to the kings and queens of England. Public and media reaction was overwhelming positive. The AHRC continues to run a range of research projects with the Library, including funding a six-month Wikipedian-in-Residence post.
A further key development mentioned in the Report are the plans to extend the model established by the Library’s Business & IP Centre
to other city libraries across the UK. In partnership with the Intellectual Property Office
, the aim is to establish a network of centres in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, adding to the pilot scheme that is already underway in Newcastle.
The full pdf of the Annual Report 2011/12 can be found here www.bl.uk/annualreport2011-12