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Established as an independent institution in 1973, the British Library is the largest library in the world, with well over 150 million items in its collection.
The British Library and neighbouring St Pancras from the air
Since 1997 the library has been housed in a purpose-built building at St Pancras in London, and continues to add around three million items to its collection each year.
As a legal deposit library, the British Library is sent one copy of everything published in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. In addition to newly published books, the library is home to several manuscripts of huge historic significance, from Beowulf to the Magna Carta. These and others are on display to the general public at the library's Sir John Ritblat Gallery, which is open daily with no admission charge.
Art Funded works
Dating to between 1250 and 1260, the Rutland Psalter is an elaborately illuminated manuscript. Nearly all of its 190 pages are decorated, six with full page miniature illustrations.
The Mervyn Peake Archive is a collection of drawings, poetry notebooks and manuscripts by the artist and author. His illustrations form a significant portion of the archive, including the complete set of original illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice books.
The exhibition galleries and shop are open to the general public daily, free of charge. The library's reading rooms are available to anyone with with a legitimate need to access works in the library's collection for research or personal reasons " individuals will need to register for a Reader Pass online or at the Reader Registration Office.