Grants and Donations
The British Library is extremely grateful to all of our donors and supporters whose continuing generosity ensures that we are able to maintain our position as one of the world’s greatest research libraries.
Grants and Donations
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able this year to open the Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre, made significant progress with our transformative English Online project, provided Book Conservation training bursaries and provided essential funding for our exhibitions programme.
St Cuthbert Gospel
We are delighted to have received a substantial gift from the National Heritage Memorial Fund which has enabled us to begin our fundraising campaign to acquire the St Cuthbert Gospel, a remarkable 7th century manuscript and the most important intact Western book. Fundraising will continue until March 2012 when we aim to have raised the full purchase price of £9million.
Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre
In September, the Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre opened its doors to visiting school groups. Over the summer, the Library had expanded and fully refurbished its existing education room, to create a bright, spacious, versatile and inspiring new space for groups of learners to explore the Library’s collections and develop their digital literacy and research skills. The Centre will host the 17,000 young learners and 3,000 teachers, adult learners and family groups who participate in workshops, curator talks and tours through the Library’s Learning Programme each year. The Centre is fully digitally enabled with laptops, electronic whiteboards, as well as audio-visual and video-conferencing facilities.
We are very grateful to the Dorset Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, John Lyon’s Charity, British Library Patrons and others for their generous support.
2010 marked great progress in the Library’s international strategy with the signing of two key Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), one with the Qatar Foundation, and the other with the Indian Ministry of Culture. Both MOUs focus on the digitisation of a wide range of content held by the Library, including the India Office Records.
The partnership with the Qatar Foundation involves scoping a four-year project to digitise India Office Records relating to the Arabian Gulf from the middle of the 18th century to 1951, as well as manuscripts demonstrating the influence of the Islamic world in science and medicine in the medieval period.
The Indian MOU involves plans to work with six major cultural institutions in India to develop a programme of cultural exchanges, facilitate exchanges of exhibitions and reciprocal visits, collaborate on skills sharing, digitising complementary archives and collections such as portions of India Office Records held in each country to bring together collections, and to facilitate exchange of best practice. The first project underway is to digitise the Library’s 4,200 East India Company paintings, working together with the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and institutions in India who also hold complementary collections.
The Patrons’ Programme enjoyed a very successful year, supporting two outstanding Library projects and including some very special visits. Patrons’ donations made a valuable contribution to the Library’s most successful exhibition to date: Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art in which a number of cartographic masterpieces were displayed for the first time and this drew visitors from as far afield as Australia. The autumn then saw the Patrons contribute to the creation of the new Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre, which was opened by the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb.
Highlights of the events calendar included a spring visit to Paris and the opportunity to explore a Patron’s private library before touring the Richelieu building of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In November, the doors of another Patron’s home were opened to us for a special private view of an exquisite photography collection. A private concert at the Handel House Museum, Mayfair, marked the year’s festive gathering. Our sincerest thanks go to our generous hosts, and to our Patrons for their loyal support.
Support Us website
The Library’s new online giving site went live at the end of the financial year and we anticipate that it will transform the giving experience for many of our donors. The new site features current projects, funding successes, opportunities for donors to share their stories, and a streamlined donations process. Donors have already welcomed the arrival of the site and have enthusiastically shared their personal stories with us.
Gifts of legacies
Legacies are a vital source of philanthropic support for the Library and, for many donors, a legacy will be the largest gift that they ever make. The Library has been fortunate to benefit from a range of gifts this year, including a bequest from Dr Henry D Ginsburg whose generosity has endowed a post dedicated to our Thai, Lao and Cambodian collections.
Henry Ginsburg was an eminent authority on Thai manuscript painting, a field he made largely his own. His unique achievement at the British Library was to build up, slowly and steadily, by discerning acquisition, one of the finest collections of illustrated Thai manuscripts in the world.
Sadly Henry died suddenly in 2007 and the executors of his estate chose to give a significant gift to the British Library to endow a curatorial post. The first Dr Henry D Ginsburg Curator of Thai, Lao and Cambodian is Jana Igunma.
Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art
Thanks to the generous support of Bouygues UK Ltd and Apax Partners, the British Library Patrons and Friends; Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art was our most successful exhibition with more than 220,000 visitors. Curated by the Library’s maps experts, Peter Barber and Tom Harper, it showcased some of the most beautiful maps in our collections supplemented by a handful of remarkable loans. Not only was this free exhibition a great success, but visitors showed there appreciation by giving generously via the donation boxes.