Portal:British Library

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The British Library's courtyard.

The British Library (BL) is the national library of the United Kingdom, and one of the world's largest libraries in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, playscripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library's collections include around 14 million books (second only to the USA's Library of Congress), along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC.

As a legal deposit library, the BL receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. It also has a significant budget for content acquisitions. The British Library adds some three million items every year occupying 11 kilometres of new shelf space.

The library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is located on the north side of Euston Road in St Pancras, London, between Euston railway station and St Pancras railway station and at Boston Spa in Yorkshire.


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The King's Library was one of the most important collections of books and pamphlets of the Age of Enlightenment. Assembled by George III, this scholarly library of over 65,000 volumes was subsequently given to the British nation by George IV. It was housed in a specially-built gallery in the British Museum from 1827 to 1997 and now forms part of the British Library. The term 'King's Library' is sometimes also used to refer to the gallery in the British Museum built for the collection.

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Irk Bitig, the only known complete manuscript text written in Old Turkic script

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Ground floor

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The great British Library — an immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, many of which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read: one of these sequestered pools of obsolete literature to which modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of classic lore, or “pure English, undefiled” wherewith to swell their own scanty rills of thought.
— Washington Irving (1783 –1859)
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.


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