Thursday Doors – The British Library, London

IMG_1259 This is the main entrance to The British Library, London. Through it you can see into the central piazza, and the large statue of Isaac Newton (based on a drawing by William Blake). This was the meeting point for the first Blogger’s Bash last year, and I have fond memories of us all standing around and chatting like old friends, even though most of us were meeting for the first time.

IMG_1260 I went past the library this weekend past, which prompted me to take these shots. Someone had, rather incongruously, left a small baby doll propped against the open door – whether a lost toy or an artistic statement, it was hard to tell.

IMG_1261 The Library was created in 1973, as part of the British Library Act of 1972, and is the largest library in the world (by virtue of the number of items catalogued there). My own books are here – this is due to the principle of Legal Deposit, which dates back to to 1610. It states that the Library is entitled to a free copy of every book published or distributed within Britain, as are five other libraries, The Bodleian Library at Oxford, The University Library at Cambridge, The Trinity College Library at Dublin, and the National Libraries of both Scotland and Wales. While you have to send a copy of your book to the British Library, the other five libraries will only request a copy if required, which you then have to send at your own cost (and yes, this happened to me).

Thanks for reading my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. To see more doors or add one of your own, head on over to his site.


28 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – The British Library, London

  1. Hmpf. I was asked for copies and I was told should be flattered to give them away (plus postage) for gratis. Odd world view that. Nice to see the Bash meeting spot again.

      • But how nice for descendants generations later to be able to go in and request to see the copy of your book and wonder as touching it that you are family. You can do that in the states at the Library of Congress – it meant a lot to me as a child. Just a little different perspective ( But true it is an expensive legacy to do)

  2. I bet I could get lost for days in that place!
    Long term it certainly seems like the culturally responsible thing to do so that future generations have access to all the works that were produced. But I can understand why it would grate to oblige writers to supply it for free AND pay for the delivery no less.
    Good post Helen πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Norm. I love the thought that my books are part of this huge cultural legacy, even though it was an expensive thing to do. And I would love to go inside the Library – apparently you have to apply for a Reading Permit and show that you have need to access their records. I imagine as writers we could use the excuse of research – I might have to try it one day!

  3. I could spend days here. My mother was an Engineer at one of our major telecommunications companies since I was 8, but always wanted to be a Librarian. She loves reading and taught me how wonderful the Library is. Before she retired she went back to school to become a Librarian. She graduated with Honors! 4.0 GPA! She’s amazing. She’s working in Genealogy now and putting those Librarian skills to good use, and I am teaching my Grandson to love the Library and I hope the joy of reading by going twice a week and checking out books, and reading them while we have them over, and over again.

    Our library has a lovely sitting area in front of a fireplace that is lit in winter. I loath to close my book, and return to the real world when engrossed in a book there….or anywhere for that matter! Reading is a gift beyond measure. I hope I’m able to teach #1 Grandson how to do it… I’m out of practice, but think he’s near it! πŸ™‚

    • Oh wow, thank you for sharing your story – that’s so wonderful about your mother, she sounds like an inspiring woman. I’d love to be a Librarian too – perhaps one day I might seek further study as well.
      Your library sounds wonderful – an open fire? That would never fly here, health and safety would have all kinds of issues with it, which I think is a real shame. And I agree that reading is a gift beyond measure – I was so pleased to teach my daughter to read, and now volunteer read with the younger children at her school. I believe that if you can read, you can learn about anything – the whole world can be found inside a book. πŸ™‚

  4. Cool – both the pictures, and that your book is there. Mine are at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa – same deal, you’re required to send them a copy (two if the initial print run is over 100). But in return, you get as many free ISBN’s as you like; which I think is a pretty good deal.

    • Thanks, Angelika – it is pretty cool! πŸ™‚ However, you get a much better deal with the free ISBN’s – I think I need to get onto the British Library about that!

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