Living Knowledge: The British Library 2015 – 2023

Living Knowledge sets out the British Library’s vision for its future development as it looks ahead to 2023, the year of its 50th anniversary as the national library of the United Kingdom

Published date:

Living Knowledge sets out six core statements of purpose: custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international and explains how we contribute to research, culture, education and economic prosperity, for the benefit not just of the UK but of users and partners around the world. Our mission is to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

The priorities within Living Knowledge include the Save our Sounds campaign to address the major preservation challenge to the UK’s sound collections, further development of our research and digital innovation activities, and an expansion of our existing work with others in support of business, culture and learning.

Chief Executive Roly Keating said: “Living Knowledge is an ambitious prospectus for growth and continued development, driven by a vision of the British Library in 2023 as the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind in the world. These are times of historic disruption in the whole global system of information and publication, and it seems right that the great knowledge institutions – with their historic remit to think and act with a view far into the future – should play a full part in shaping the changes that lie ahead”.

Join the conversation #LivingKnowledge and download the document [PDF].

The Mechanical Curator and Other Stories: Libraries and creativity in an age of data.

Watch Chief Executive Roly Keating’s speech on the enduring role of libraries in a digital age and their importance to the knowledge economy.

A day in the life of the British Library

The soundtrack was created by DJ Yoda in a custom-made track sampling the Library’s own vast sound collections, performed live from the British Library’s Entrance Hall on 21 November 2014 as part of the BBC 6 Music Celebrates Libraries season.

British Library collection items issued to readers

Watch 10 hypnotic minutes of book requests from our book request system, showing the sheer range and diversity of content that is being used by our Readers every day.

See also

Blog posts

Work experience in the British Library Press Office

08 July 2016

Ben Sanderson, Head of Press and Communications, writes: each year the Library offers a number of short work experience placements. This week we were pleased to welcome Ali Muminoglu to the Communications Team at St Pancras. Ali, who is starting...

Help shape the future of our digital research spaces

01 July 2016

Previous Living Knowledge posts have described the progress we’ve made on our major programme to expand and reorient our site at St Pancras. As well as delivering new spaces for exhibitions, events and catering, the programme also aims to create...

CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards at the British Library

24 June 2016

It’s not often that you hear actual whoops of joy in the British Library (as opposed to reverent gasps of admiration), but there were plenty of cheers on 20th June during the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards....

Our Alice in Wonderland exhibition travels north to Newcastle

22 June 2016

On Monday 9 May I set off from central London to transport the Library’s Alice in Wonderland exhibition north to The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. This second collaboration between the two institutions offered a unique opportunity to share treasures...

More blog posts


Save our Sounds

Save our Sounds is our programme to preserve the nation’s sound heritage

Directory of UK Sound Collections

The British Library has created a directory of UK sound collections