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The British Library The Knowledge Network: The British Library Annual Report and Accounts 2008/09

Explore our year


The British Library contributed to cultural diplomacy, collaborating with a growing range of international partners in areas where working in partnership can make a real difference.

Western Eyes - historical photographs of China in British collections 1860-1930


Western Eyes: historical photographs of China in British collections 1860 – 1930, featuring over 500 images, was created through a collaboration between the British Library and National Library of China. Demand was so high that the exhibition has toured to Huihaoshe Art Gallery in Guangzhou, and Hubei Art Museum, Wuhan.

The Library has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran (NLAI). The aim is to develop a programme of professional and cultural exchange including sharing information about their respective Persian, Iranian and British collections.

The British Library continues to support the Iraqi National Library and Archives and has provided over 50,000 India Office Records relating to the history of Iraq. The digital records cover a period of 250 years and underline the long history of close links between the two countries.

In December 2008 the Library organised the ceremony to celebrate the Director of the Iraqi National Archive and Library (INLA), Dr Saad Eskander's award of Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, in recognition of his distinguished service in rebuilding the institution.


The British Library won the following awards in 2008/09:

Accountancy Age Awards: Best Annual Report and Accounts (public and voluntary sector).

Nominet Best Practice Challenge Awards: Internet and Culture Award for the Sacred exhibition.

CBI Human Capital Awards: winner of Excellence in the Public Sector and The People's Organisation awards.

HR Excellence Awards 2008: Best Learning and Development Strategy and Best Health and Well Being Strategy award – The British Library and Health and Well Being

CorpComms Awards 2008: Young Achiever – Chloë Tait, Public Affairs Officer.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The British Library's commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility focused on three core areas:

Environmental – behaving ethically

Economic – economic development

Social – improving the quality of life for workforce, families and local community.

The Library exceeded the Government target of recycling 40% of its waste by weight and did so one year ahead of the due date of 2010. Nearly 60% of waste is recycled. No residual waste goes to landfill; instead it is incinerated for energy. The Library is working with the London Green500 scheme to achieve its carbon-reduction goals.

A programme of volunteering opportunities supported reading in local schools, benefiting local communities. More than 750 hours of volunteering took place. Linked to the National Year of Reading 2008, the Library ran the Big Read book club to encourage Camden to ‘get reading'. It hosted a sell-out event with some of London's most innovative writers.