British Museum Library

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Since then I have researched the topic, revisited the village and examined a lot of documents, especially in the British Museum Library as well as the Cambridge University Library.
Until early in the nineteenth century the quantities of material arriving at the British Museum Library (16) in accordance with copyright deposit regulations (17) were quite low, due to a combination of the relatively small amounts of published material being entered at Stationers' Hall (18) and the frequent failure of publishers to meet their obligation of providing a copy.
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.
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.

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