06 September 2015

The British Library, by the numbers

British Library, near St. Pancras station.

Exterior of the library; roof is Welsh gray slate.

Entry, piazza and clock tower.

Number of boxes of books my DH and I recently moved: 41
Number of boxes donated to More Than Words: 8

Number of books in the King George III collection: 65,000
Number of items in the British Library: 170 million+

Date of my General Library Group Tour: 19 August 2015
Cost of tour: 10 pounds (about $15)
Length of tour: one hour
Number of visitors in our group: 5

Glass tower housing King George's books, the centerpiece of the British Library.

Date British Library (BL) became separate from British Museum: 1973
Date of completion of new, purpose-built facility: 1997

Entry atrium and information desk.

Natural light floods entry atrium.

Reading rooms are only accessible with a Reader's Pass.

Number of researchers allowed to use an item from the collection without a Reader's Pass: 0
Minimum age to obtain a Reader's Pass: 18
Number of documents needed to obtain a Reader's Pass: 2 - signed id and proof of address
Number of new passes issued annually: 30,000

Most book storage is below grade, as shown in this model.

Number of minutes between on-site book request and arrival at reader's desk via UPC-coded bin: 60
Number of hours between item request and its arrival from off-site storage: 24
Percentage of items stored off-site: 70

Books retrieved from onsite storage via automated book handling system. Source: mikepeel.net

Hours spent in the first floor Treasures Gallery, after the tour: 1.5
Cost of admission to the Treasures Gallery: 0
Number of manuscript copies of Beowulf extant: 1
Number of manuscript copies of Beowulf in the Treasures Gallery:
Date of publication of Shakespeare's First Folio: 1623

First page of Beowulf manuscript. Source: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2013/02/beowulf-online.html

Shakespeare's First Folio. Source: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/shakespeares-first-folio
Hours spent in the wonderful shop: 1.5
Amount of money spent: never you mind!