Quick Facts & Figures

Communications Team

The British Library Communications Team provides press information to the media and advice on the Library’s key issues.  We focus on communicating key elements of the Library’s corporate strategy through a variety of channels to enhance the Library’s reputation and contribute to public debates on issues important to the education, research and cultural sectors.

Our Locations

St Pancras

St Pancras

Boston Spa

Boston Spa

General Information

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.

Quick Information

We receive a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland and 3 million new items are added every year. We have manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings, music scores, patents, Sound archive and 8 million stamps. If you were to see 5 items each day, it would take you over 80,000 years to see the whole of the collection.

More information can be found here


The British Library is relatively young. Its roots lie in the report of the National Libraries Committee in 1969. This was followed in 1971 by a White Paper recommending the setting up of a national library for the UK ('the British Library').  In 1972 The British Library Act was passed by Parliament, bringing the Library into operation with effect from 1 July 1973.

More information can be found here

Legal Deposit

Publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have a legal obligation to send one copy of each of their publications to the Legal Deposit Office of the British Library within one month of publication.

The right of the British Library to receive one copy of every publication distributed in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland is based on the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 and the Copyright and Related Act, 2000.

More information can be found here


Press Office Contact

Press Office:
+ 44 (0) 20 7412 7110

Out of Hours:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150


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