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Review | Chairman | Chief Executive | Strategic priorities | Performance | Governance | Grants | Accounts

Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive

Hitting targets

'The Library has had an extremely successful year across the full range of our activities. We have hit or exceeded every important target. This success has only been possible through the enormous commitment, energy and innovation shown by colleagues - I am deeply grateful and continually impressed.

We have completed the construction of our new Centre for Conservation which provides a world-leading facility for book conservation and state-of-the art technical facilities for the preservation of our recorded sound collection.

The Library's media and public profile has been consistently high and positive. Our distinctive exhibitions, and wider public and education programmes showcase our great collections and have attracted ever greater numbers of visitors to St Pancras, and also to our website.

We have been fortunate to make a number of significant acquisitions for the Library's collection over the past year. Amongst these was the gift of the Fox Talbot Collection, an extensive archive of photographs, correspondence, manuscripts and research notes from the pioneer of photography, William Fox Talbot.

As we move into the final year of our current three-year strategy, we are addressing continuing and new strategic challenges and we will be sharing our new plan publicly next year.'

Digital initiatives

'The British Library has been quick to harness the power of new technologies to open up access to the collection. The pace of change in the digital environment -digital publishing, Web 2.0, technological options, and new service models - continues to increase.

We continue to add rich content of wide interest to our Web-site and we are particularly proud this year of our new offerings for education. We have made early but purposeful steps into the world of social computing and Web 2.0, building on-line features to run in parallel to our exhibitions, and seeking new ways to build interactions with our specialist research communities, allowing the Library to engage with researchers across the world.

This year has seen the Library actively engaged in the policy debate on intellectual property and copyright. We launched our IP Manifesto in the autumn, setting out our view of the role of copyright and IP in the digital age, seeking a sensitive balance between reward for creators and access in the public interest. Sustaining this balance as content goes digital is critical for future research activity and innovation.

We contributed to the Gowers Review of IP which published its findings in December. We supported many of the Review's recommendations, in particular changes to enable library copying for preservation purposes to cover all forms of content. We were however disappointed that there were not more specific proposals on 'fair dealing' and its interpretation in the digital age.'


'In a new partnership project between ourselves, the University of Manchester and the European Bioinformatics Institute and financed by nine UK research funders, this year has seen us set up UK PubMed Central, an online service to provide open access to peer-reviewed research papers in the medical and life sciences. This is a key plank of our developing science strategy.

We continue to deepen our relationship with higher education and research libraries. We announced a series of commitments to take forward our Content Strategy, following consultation with stakeholders, and began a collaboration with university libraries to enable a more systematic national approach to collection management, enabling libraries both to save space and to benefit from the service delivery structures of the Library. We are working well with JISC as a strategic partner and appreciate their support for making our collections more accessible through digitisation.'

Newspaper strategy

'The British Library holds the finest newspaper collection in the world, with titles dating back to 1513, and it is consulted by over 30,000 people every year. We receive a copy of every issue of UK newspapers (local, regional and national) and magazines through legal deposit arrangements, bringing in 13,000 issues every month.

Unfortunately, newspapers deteriorate quickly, and there are growing concerns about the fragility of our collection. We are planning to move the material from its current home in Colindale to a new storage facility at Boston Spa that will provide improved preservation facilities. The moves will be phased over the next few years, and digital and microfilm access to the collection will be provided at St Pancras.'

The contribution of colleagues

'Over the past year we have welcomed two new colleagues to the Executive Team. Phil Spence joined the Library as Director of Operations & Services, and Ronald Milne as Director of Scholarship & Collections. Both bring with them a wealth of experience, and are already making a significant contribution to the life of the Library. Dr Clive Field retired after a distinguished career in academic libraries and the British Library.

The Library's success owes much to our talented and committed staff. I am proud of them all and we will continue to strive to support them and provide opportunities to recruit and retain the very best people to sustain our great library and its service to the nation and beyond.'

Lynne Brindley

Lynne Brindley
Chief Executive

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