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Reader Bulletin: August 2013

 News

Propaganda mini-debates at the British Library with the Speakers Corner Trust
Magna Carta news
W. H. Auden’s lost journal comes to the British Library
The British Library’s involvement with The Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham
Skiffle sounds and African audio: new recordings online
Our July Symposium: “Selling the Samovar”
Advance notice of maintenance works affecting the availability of Stein Central Asian Collections

 Propaganda mini-debates at the British Library with the Speakers Corner Trust

2-5 September
13.00 - 13.45
Free exhibition
Poets' Circle

In partnership with the Speakers Corner Trust and in direct relation to our Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition, a series of mini-debates are to be held at the Library during lunchtimes in early September. They will be around 45 minutes and will take place in the Poets Circle (in the event of bad weather they will be moved to the Entrance Hall). Each debate will be based around a different question which is linked to an aspect of the Propaganda, Power and Persuasion exhibition or to propaganda in general:

2 September – Is the News Propaganda?
3 September – Thank Goodness for Propaganda!
4 September – New Media – New Propaganda?
5 September – Your Propaganda – My Free Speech.

 Magna Carta news

The four surviving original copies of Magna Carta – of which two are held by the British Library – will be brought together for the first time in history in 2015, the year of the 800th anniversary of the issue of the Charter by King John in 1215. The unification will be held in early 2015 at the British Library in collaboration with Lincoln Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral – who possess the other two surviving copies of the document – and supported by the law firm Linklaters. A year of celebrations across the UK and the world will follow the events.

 W. H. Auden’s lost journal comes to the British Library

The British Library has acquired one of only three journals kept by Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden. Used by the celebrated poet between August and November 1939, the unpublished journal has been in private hands since Auden’s death in 1973. The Library purchased the journal last month after it was unearthed and put up for auction by Christie’s.

The diary will be on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery from this month.

Read more at Press and Policy.

 The British Library’s involvement with The Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham

The British Library is a major lender to the exhibition The Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham, where no fewer than six of the Library's greatest Anglo-Saxon and medieval treasures will be on display at Palace Green Library in Durham. Among the items being loaned are the St Cuthbert Gospel, the Ceolfrith Bible and the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels. The exhibition provides an outstanding opportunity for visitors to examine these books at close-hand, and in the context of other artefacts including objects from the Staffordshire Hoard and from the tomb of St Cuthbert.

‘Lindisfarne Gospels Durham: One Amazing Book, One Incredible Journey’ is on show at Palace Green Library until 30 September 2013.

Read more at Press and Policy.

 Skiffle sounds and African audio: new recordings online

This month we launch a variety of new music recordings covering both jazz and world music. 178 skiffle sounds have been uploaded, demonstrating the craze which hit the UK in the 1950s and laid the basis for decades of successful British rock and popular music. You can hear hits by Lonnie Donegan, The Chas McDevitt Skiffle group and The Vipers – all of whom provided inspiration for musicians such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Roger Daltrey.

A collection of 512 field recordings made by composer Kevin Volans in the late 1970s in South Africa is also now available. These include rare recordings of the late Princess Constance Magogo on the ugubhu musical bow, a large number of guitar and concertina pieces as well as natural sounds such as the sounds of storms and insects.

Listen for free at Sounds.

 Our July Symposium: “Selling the Samovar”

On 8 July the Symposium "Selling the Samovar" took place in the British Library Conference Centre. Organised by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) and the British Library, this Knowledge Exchange Symposium funded by the Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies (CEELBAS) focused on the subject of consumerism, industry and commerce in Russian and Soviet art and culture. It also highlighted the valuable collection of Russian sources pertaining to art and culture held at the Library. Included were two show and tells: Katya Rogatchevskaia on the British Library Resource on Russian Visual Arts and Peter Hellyer on the British Library Collection of avant-garde books.

 Advance notice of maintenance works affecting the availability of Stein Central Asian Collections

Owing to essential maintenance work in one of the secure storage areas, the Stein Central Asian collections will be unavailable from 23rd August 2013 to 17th November 2013. Readers are advised to contact the International Dunhuang Project department at idp@bl.uk for further information and to check for alternative sources.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 Event highlights

We run a wide range of fascinating events for the general public as well as researchers and businesses. Explore our full events programme online at What's On.

Michael Dukakis: In Conversation
Handy Nonsense
Inspiration Britten
The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of Obsession
Do The Right Thing

 Michael Dukakis: In Conversation

6 August / 18.30-20.00
Conference Centre
£7.50 / £5 concessions

Former US Presidential candidate Mike Dukakis will be joined by former Conservative MP and Cabinet Member Kenneth Baker to discuss the complexities of winning support for policy and the business of elections in both the UK and United States. The conversation will be chaired by Bronwen Maddox, Editor of Prospect Magazine.

 Handy Nonsense

13 – 14 August / 11.00 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 16.00
Entrance Hall
Free, no booking required

Edward Lear wrote nonsense, and now it's your turn! Write some silly songs or vile verse and turn it into a handy work of art. Intrigued? Come along to the free family event and find out more. Suitable for ages 3+ but all are welcome.

 Inspiration Britten

20 – 21 August / Various times
See below for location
Free, no booking required

Inspired by our Poetry in Sound: The Music of Benjamin Britten exhibition, join us for some family fun:

  • Sing Britten! Start singing! And enjoy performing some of the songs that inspired Britten. These workshops will take place in the Learning Centre at 11.00, 13.00 and 15.00.
  • Make Britten! What inspired Britten? And what inspires you? Drop in for some Britten-themed art workshops. These workshops will take place in the Entrance Hall 11.00 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 16.00

Suitable for age 6+ but all are welcome.

 The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of Obsession

21 August 2013 / 12.30 - 14.00
Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation
Free, booking essential

Join award-winning author Andrea Wulf as she tells the tale of a small group of 18th-century naturalists that made England a nation of gardeners. The talk explores the botanical passions, obsessions, friendships and squabbles that knitted together the lives of six men that changed the world of gardening and botany.

 Do The Right Thing

9 September / 18.30-20.00
Conference Centre
£7.50 / £5 concessions

With campaigns from healthy eating to road safety and AIDS awareness, governments have tried to get us to act responsibly for decades. How and why do they do this? Can they influence us to do the right things or should the ‘nanny state’ leave us alone? Responsible government or overbearing state? You decide! Joining author and broadcaster N. J. Cooper for this debate is journalist Sarfraz Monzoor and Max Wind-Cowie of Demos.

 Free Reader Training Sessions

To find out more about all our workshops and book your place, visit the workshops page. There is a heavy demand for these courses so if you are booked on one and later find that you are unable to come, please let us know so that we can offer the place to someone else. your needs.

 Service updates

Lost or stolen pass?
Follow @BL_Ref_Services

 Lost or stolen pass

Check our website for details on renewing - you’ll need to provide proof of your home address and signature. Your records in Explore the British Library will be saved until your pass expires. Please see Reader Registration.

 Follow @BL_Ref_Services

@BL_Ref_Services on Twitter for tips on using the Library and updates on how busy it is in the Reading Rooms.

Tell us what you think about the 'new look' Reader Bulletin

We are keen to hear what you think about the Reader Bulletin – what you find interesting or helpful and what you feel we could improve. We are also interested to know the format you prefer, whether a printed copy or an electronic version, as well as your views on other possible forms of communication. Please email Melissa Byrd.