British Museum Library

British Museum Library


located in London; the largest library in Great Britain. It carries out the functions of a national library. One of the largest libraries in the world.

The British Museum Library was founded in 1753. According to 1969 data, its collections amount to approximately 7 million volumes of printed publications and 200,000 manuscripts in European languages, 250,000 printed books and 38,000 manuscripts in Oriental languages, 500,000 geographic maps, and approximately 1 million copies of musical scores. The national reference division on science and inventions receives approximately 20,000 scientific and technical journals and possesses 110,000 volumes (11 million items) of patents. The annual growth in the collections of the British Museum Library exceeds 1 million items. The British Museum Library preserves Egyptian, Greek, and Roman papyruses and more than 10,000 incunabula. Of special importance are the collections of literature on botany, zoology, geology, and mineralogy. There are also collections of printed publications from the time of the English Revolution of the 17th century and the Great French Revolution.

The British Museum Library has six reading rooms with 670 seats for readers. The most famous of these is the main (round) reading room constructed by Panizzi in the middle of the 19th century. It was in this room that K. Marx worked on his Capital during the 1850’s and 1860’s. V. I. Lenin also worked there during the years 1902–03, 1907, and 1908. Lenin had a high opinion of the collections of the British Museum Library, especially of the collection of Russian literature.

The publishing house connected with the British Museum Library issues a current national bibliography entitled The British National Bibliography and prints cards for British books. The latest edition (1964) of the printed catalogs of the British Museum Library contains 263 volumes with supplements.


Esdaile, A. The British Museum Library. London, [1948].


References in periodicals archive ?
Its plain title, "Movements of Incunabula between the Former British Museum Library and the University Library in Cambridge," conceals a fascinating and sometimes horrifying story of when, how, and why incunables were sold and exchanged between these two and other libraries and even individual book collectors.
The Henry Davis Collection, which comprises bookbindings and bookbinding-related artifacts, was gifted to the British Museum Library in 1968 and then to the BL, and it numbers about 1,000 works.
It was his grandson who, in 1753, donated the book to the new British Museum Library, which became the British Library in 1973.
The first scheme for the British Museum Library (1962-64) was a vital link in the evolution of the final British Library design.
The British Library, and the British Museum Library which formed the heart of the new Library on its incorporation in 1973, has always been another magnificent source of pictures for us, especially of manuscripts and old printed books, many of them never previously photographed.
A medieval Latin-English dictionary; based on a set of unpublished 15th century manuscripts, Medulla grammaticae/ Marrow of grammer, kept in the British Museum library.
The British Museum Library bought it at Sotheby's in 1947 for pounds 441.
For nearly all of that period this came down to matters of fenestration; at the very end, following improvements in materials science, some minor innovations in flooring were added--metal grilles, as in the stacks of the British Museum Library, or glass, for example at the University of Illinois.
There are a lot of dead bodies strewn between Marx's desk at the British Museum Library and what Francis Fukuyama called "the end of history.
This seems to be placing this library completely subsidiary to the Humanities Section, formerly known as the British Museum Library.
The annual lecture series at the British Library commemorating the achievements of the eminent Victorian librarian and effective creator of the British Museum Library, Sir Anthony Panizzi (1797-1879), involves commissioning leading scholars to discuss matters of bibliography, drawing at least in part on the library's rich collections.

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