The Library’s success as a visitor destination was confirmed this year as visits in 2006/07 topped our target by 16%. Popular exhibitions like Front Page: Celebrating 100 Years of the British Newspaper attracted a substantial audience, 20% of which was from the 16–24 demographic, a significant change on previous shows. London: A Life in Maps was one of The Times’ Top Five exhibitions and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme featured interviews with London cab drivers at a special exhibition preview.
The public areas of St Pancras are buzzing – whether it’s top band The Feeling playing on the piazza to help launch Microsoft’s Vista, or 50 Years of the Album Charts playing in the Entrance Hall. Local residents and office workers stop by for lunch or to catch a concert or event like the Black History Month discussions or the sell-out Poetry Hours. These readings are organised by the writer Josephine Hart and feature readers of the calibre of Ralph Fiennes, Roger Moore, Juliet Stevenson, Harold Pinter and Bob Geldof.
The Library has become a hub of activity as the surrounding area is extensively redeveloped, heralding the opening of the Eurostar terminus later this year. Regent Quarter will become an important arrival point for the 2012 Olympics, and the Library is the perfectly sited public space to showcase the ideas of contemporary Britain in all their diversity.