Crisis at the British Library?

I’ve read a really disturbing news story that the British Library is facing major financial cuts – there is a possibility that readers will be charged to use the St Pancreas reading rooms and the newspaper library will close altogether. This could be disastrous for large numbers of researchers in British history and literary studies (not least eighteenth century folks). Does anyone know any more about this? How bad is the situation?


The story has been covered more extensively since my first post and it could well turn out be very bad for many researchers. It should be said that the reports are talking worst-case scenarios, and we can all hope that it won’t be quite that bad. But the BL seems unlikely to come out of this unscathed.

See: The Grauniad; Telegraph (and more); This is London.

NB: Library staff will go on strike tomorrow (Wednesday 31 January) in protest and the reading rooms will be closed.

3 responses to “Crisis at the British Library?

  1. David Mazella

    Sharon, this is really dreadful, and I’m not just thinking in terms of my own trip this summer. Are they serious about these cuts, or are these just threats designed to get the budgets restored?


  2. I think some of this is tactical, yes. As I understand it, the cuts haven’t been made yet; the BL has to argue its case with the Treasury alongside various other organisations, and the more support it can get the better.

  3. A quick update: the BL’s own advice on how we can help them is here.