We welcome learners of all ages to the British Library, from school students and teachers to families and community groups. Our collection - filled with treasures including ancient manuscripts, world maps, historic newspapers, music recordings, and contemporary photographs - is at the heart of our unique learning programme which offers a range of opportunities to explore, connect and interact both onsite, online and nationally.
Each year, over 35,000 participants take part in a rich mix of creative programmes including workshops, masterclasses, performances and discovery days. Led by our team of specialist educators and using the Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre and our major exhibitions, the programme combines opportunities to encounter original and rare objects together with a skills-based approach centred around critical thinking, research, and visual, verbal and digital literacy.
Online, 4 million visitors come to our website every year to explore thousands of high resolution collection items, current academic research, films and animations, and teaching resources. The site provides unparalleled digital access to the British Library, inspiring and enhancing understanding of our collections for teaching and learning.
Highlights for 2014/15 include:
An international schools' programme inviting young people across the UK and overseas to consider their rights and responsibilities online. Working with partners including the World Wide Web Foundation and the Southbank Centre, over 3,000 young people took part from schools across the globe and submitted their own ‘clause’ to our Magna Carta for the digital age.
To mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the British Library held a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition exploring the history and resonance of this globally-recognised document. Our accompanying learning programme included exhibition workshops for over 5,000 students and Continuing Professional Development events for teachers in partnership with The Historical Association and the Schools History Project. Our Magna Carta digital resources were visited over 400,000 times in the site’s first five months. Supported by The Dorset Foundation in memory of Harry M Weinrebe.
An exhibition celebrating literature and music – from the great empires of the Middle Ages to the cultural dynamism of West Africa today. To accompany the exhibition, we’re running workshops for schools; special events for teachers including one in partnership with the Guardian and one for Newly Qualified Teachers; a screening as part of the Into Film festival; a student conference in collaboration with SOAS; as well as a large-scale family event featuring an African Marketplace and music performances.
From activity trails to family festivals, we welcome families to the British Library to take part in a range of creative and story-based activities designed to engage all the family. Highlights this year include Carnival of the Animals in association with ZSL London Zoo, a visit from children’s writer and illustrator of The Tiger Who Came to Tea Judith Kerr, and workshops with soundscape artists Wajid Yaseen and Helen Frosi. Supported by the John Lyon’s Charity.
You may have noticed parts of our website changing over the past few months. Following the successes of World War One and Discovering Literature, we are turning our attention to existing resources and ensuring they are just as engaging and easy to use. We have already re-launched our Sisterhood, Victorian Britain and Georgian Britain websites. Check back regularly as Sounds Familiar, Playtimes and Voices of the Holocaust will all be refreshed in the coming months.
To find out more about our programmeSchools programme