Monday, June 4, 2007

The British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest libraries. It receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. The collection includes 150 million items, in most known languages. Three million new items are incorporated every year, which include manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings, music scores, and patents. The library has a Sound Archive that keeps sound recordings from 19th-century cylinders to the latest CD, DVD and minidisc recordings. There are also 8 million stamps and other philatelic items. Some facts about the British Library:

- the entire collection requires over 625 km of shelves, and grow 12km every year
- if you see 5 items each day, it would take you 80,000 years to see the whole of the collection
- the earliest dated printed book, the Diamond Sutra, can be seen in the library's exhibition galleries alongside many other national treasures
- it has on-site space for over 1,200 readers
- more than 16,000 people use the collections each day
- online catalogues, information and exhibitions can be found on the library's website
- it operates the world's largest document delivery service providing millions of items a year to customers all over the world

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