British Library

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British Library,

national library of Great Britain, located in London; one of the world's great libraries. Long a part of the British MuseumBritish Museum,
the national repository in London for treasures in science and art. Located in the Bloomsbury section of the city, it has departments of antiquities, prints and drawings, coins and medals, and ethnography.
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, the library collection originated in 1753 when the government purchased the Harleian LibraryHarleian Library
, manuscript collection of more than 7,000 volumes and more than 14,000 original legal documents, formed by Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, and his son Edward, 2d earl of Oxford.
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, which belonged to Sir Robert Bruce CottonCotton, Sir Robert Bruce,
1571–1631, English antiquarian. The Cottonian collection of books, manuscripts, coins, and antiquities became a part of the British Museum when it was founded in 1753.
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, and groups of manuscripts. The collection grew four years later when George II donated his royal library, and was considerably enlarged with the addition of George III's library in 1823. It flourished in the 19th cent. under the leadership of Sir Anthony PanizziPanizzi, Sir Anthony
, 1797–1879, British librarian, b. Italy. A political exile, Panizzi settled in England in 1823 and was naturalized in 1832. He was associated with the British Museum library as assistant librarian (1831–37), keeper of printed books
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. The library remained a part of the museum until 1973 when it was made a separate entity by act of Parliament. The museum complex was famous for its large, copper-domed Round Reading Room, for 140 years (1857–1997) the haunt of an array of scholars, authors, and other luminaries. In 1997 the library was moved to vast new quarters at London's King's Cross. Designed by British architect Colin St. John Wilson, the new library is spacious and multileveled, with four large reading rooms and several exhibition areas. Traditionally a nonlending reference library with manuscript and printed books divisions, the British Library now has large lending and bibliographic departments and is the copyright depository library for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By the beginning of the 21st cent. it housed some 150 million items, including books, magazines, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, musical scores, patents, various kinds of sound recordings, and stamps. The library also maintains an online catalog. Outstanding works in its collection include a unique papyrus of Aristotle, four original Magna Cartas, Beowulf, the 4th-century Greek Codex Sinaiticus Bible, a Gutenberg Bible, Froissart's Chronicles, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, and the Diamond Sutra (868), probably the oldest surviving printed book.


See N. Barker, Treasures of the British Library (1988); A. E. Day, The British Library (1988) and Inside the British Library (1998).

References in periodicals archive ?
The displays have been developed by the British Library in collaboration with public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network, an innovative partnership between the British Library and 22 major public libraries across the UK, and the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales.
Dr Black was originally appointed to the British Library Board for his special knowledge of Scotland as required under the terms of the British Library Act 1972 as amended by the Scotland Act 1998.
City officials this week said a partnership deal with either the British Library or other potential backers could save some of the 100 jobs at risk and keep the Library open longer.
All three organisations will be involved in the event, which will be held at the British Library in London.
A collaboration between the British Library and the Qatar National Library (QNL), this is a landmark project for the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, through which both Qataris and Britons have the opportunity to celebrate their shared history.
Deborah Novotny, Head of Collection Care, the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Chief executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley said: "The library has worked with copyright holders to capture over 6,000 websites, helping to avoid the creation of a 'digital black hole' in the nation's memory.
The BBC and the British Library are to work together to digitise over 150 million items in the British Library's archive, along with almost 1 million hours of BBC TV and radio output, making the content and assets of both organisations more widely available.
Researchers will use recordings of playground games and songs held in archives at the British Library, as well as collect current examples direct from today's school playgrounds.
Head of modern literary manuscripts at the London library Jamie Andrews said: "The nation loves the Beatles so it's great to see George's lyric reunited with those of his band mates in the British Library.
There will also be events at the British Library and other venues across London.
However, Brown also includes some plates that provide specimens showing the development of Anglo-Saxon handwriting from the uncial of the earliest extant Anglo-Saxon charter, issued by King Hlothere of Kent in 679, to the post-Conquest Anglo-Caroline minuscule of Christ Church Canterbury, as seen in the paschal table and annals in British Library, Cotton MS Caligula A.

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