British-Library_1It was an appropriately dull day in London when they took this photo of the British Library, which is on Euston Road between Euston and St Pancras. You want to go right in and start reading.

In January this year The British Library published its vision document Living Knowledge, laying out its plans for the next decade which will take it up to its half-century in 2023. Richard Price has a nice piece about it in Camden50. There’s a link in his piece to a PDF of Living Knowledge.

Here is a video of an inspiring speech by Roly Keating, Chief Executive of The British Library, introducing the report and speculating on the role of the library in a digital age. This is long (over an hour) but worth the commitment.

Does the library make sense in the age of Google? he asks. Unsurprisingly he is able to answer yes (Google is about to move to a site nearby, and Peter Baron their local Head of Communications is on hand to ask Keating some questions after his presentation). Legal deposit has been extended to all websites with UK domains, so not only does the Library hold 9th century printed books, but it is also archiving last night’s (British) blog posts. Custodianship, Research, Business support, Culture, Learning and Education, International cooperation are the six major aims of the Library, with an overarching commitment to the retention and protection of knowledge within the UK.

The London building is the bit everyone knows, but like an iceberg, it has hidden depths. Boston Spa in Yorkshire, and immense facility, is the mechanics of document search and storage. It is scheduled to expand and permit cooperation with other organizations. This BBC video of the Newspaper Building at Boston Spa gives you a quick impression of one part of the site.