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Reader Bulletin: March 2014

 News

Spring Festival - Celebrating film, fashion and design
Folio Prize Fiction Festival 2014
Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight
Support the King’s Topographical collection
Off The Map Gothic 2014 Competition
Boston Spa Reading Room refurbishment
Free webinar: researching propaganda at the British Library
Explore environmental science online
Archives and Manuscripts

 Spring Festival - Celebrating film, fashion and design

27-31 March

Join us for a series of inspiring events with screenwriter Hanif Kureishi, fashionista extraordinaire Amber Jane Butchart, Clothes on Film blogger Christopher Laverty, and many more. Highlights include ‘Putting on the Glitz’, an evening transporting you to the glitz and glamour of Jazz Age Hollywood and the costumes that took London by storm.

Find out more and book at Spring Festival.

 Folio Prize Fiction Festival 2014

8 - 9 March 2014

Join AS Byatt, Sebastian Faulks, Mark Haddon and a host of others at a new two-day fiction festival featuring some of world’s finest writers and critics. Hosted by the British Library in association with the Folio Society the festival leads up to the first award of the Folio Prize. The Folio Prize is the first major English language book prize open to writers from around the world. The festival will include appearances from the shortlisted authors and judging panel, and will stage lively conversations reflecting the diversity of contemporary fiction across the globe.

Book now at Whats On

#BeautifulScience.

 Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight

20 February - 26 May 2014

Beautiful Science is a stunning exhibition and events season that explores how picturing scientific data can provide new insight into our lives, our origins and our planet. From plotting cholera infections in the 19th century to the latest climate modelling, the exhibition will reveal the meaning in graphs, diagrams and maps. From serious debate to science activities, we’re hosting an events season designed to make you think. 

Find out more and book at Beautiful Science< br/> #BeautifulScience.

 Support the King’s Topographical collection

Map-lover George III built one of the most important map and view collections in the world. Of these, 1,200 are items relating to London including Thomas Horner’s extraordinary plan of the town of Kingston upon Thames (pictured) and a map by Wenceslaus Hollar showing the damage to London caused by the great fire of 1666. A great deal of London’s history can be told from this collection and we want to make it more accessible to all. You can support our efforts to catalogue them in their entirety for the first time. Your donations will also help us digitise and make the collection fully available online.

Find out more at Support Us.

 Off The Map Gothic 2014 Competition

Last year’s successful Off the Map videogame design competition is back and this year it is giving students something to get their teeth into with gothic horror as a theme.  Organised in partnership with Nottingham Trent University’s GameCity Festival and game company Crytek, digitised collection items from the British Library will provide creative inspiration to competition participants, including images of Whitby, North Yorkshire - a setting used by Bram Stoker in Dracula – and plans and views of Fonthill Abbey – a once-stunning Gothic revival 18th century country house, of which only a fragment remains today.

Find out more at Off the map.

 Boston Spa Reading Room refurbishment

The Boston Spa Reading Room is currently being refurbished to provide an improved working environment for our users. We are also updating our visitor reception area. Work started in mid-February and is expected to last six weeks. We are able to maintain the majority of our usual services to Readers in a temporary location though there will be some disruption.

Find out more at Boston Spa Reading Room.

 Free webinar: researching propaganda at the British Library

12 March / 15.00 GMT / free

In Summer 2013 we hosted an exhibition, 'Propaganda: Power and Persuasion', examining the communication of power, and attempts to persuade, through the use of visually striking material and the objects of everyday life. Examples of these can be found across the Library's collections, and this webinar will describe the types of material that we used, how we used the Library to research the exhibition, and how similar materials can be found through our online services. It will cover posters, leaflets and pamphlets, maps, philatelic materials and recorded sound.

 Explore environmental science online

Envia is a new free online resource, developed by the British Library to improve the discovery and access of environmental information. A tool designed for environmental science professionals, Envia enables the easy discovery and access of reports, PhD theses, and data resources. The aim is to enable discovery of environmental information, wherever it is, or users are, making the process of discovering relevant environmental information as seamless as possible. For the moment, the content in Envia is directed towards researchers and practitioners dealing with flooding. Envia is still in Beta and we are actively gathering feedback, adding new content and adjusting functionality to ensure it meets the needs of users.  

Try Envia at www.envia.bl.uk.

 Archives and Manuscripts

Search our Catalogue, Archives and Manuscripts is the online catalogue of the Library’s collections of unique and largely unpublished literary, musical and religious works, family and personal papers, and official records. They are of outstanding research importance for all periods, countries and disciplines. 200,000 new descriptions have been added to the catalogue in the past year including, for example, the East India Company’s Correspondence with the East, 1602–1753 (IOR/E/3); the Alec Guinness Archive (Add MS 89015) and the Papers of William Dacres Adams, including Political Papers of William Pitt, the Younger (Add MS 89036). These collections can be consulted by Registered Readers in the Reading Rooms.

Search the catalogue: http://searcharchives.bl.uk/.

 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.

 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.

 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.

Sisterhood: Greenham in Common
Folio Fiction Festival: On Context
Folio Fiction Festival: The Reading Room
Open Day: Conservation for the International Dunhuang Project
History Relived – Storytelling workshop
Seeing is Believing: Picturing the Nation’s Health
The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

 Sisterhood: Greenham in Common

3 Mar / 18.30 - 20.00
£8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5

On 5 September 1981 a group of women arrived at the gates of RAF Greenham in Berkshire to protest against the British government’s decision to locate nuclear missiles there; a peace camp was set up and remained until 2000. Over almost 20 years thousands of women engaged in massive protests at the site. Many hundreds were arrested and jailed. Their unconventional methods kept them in the headlines. To mark International Women’s Day and the first anniversary of the Sisterhood and After website www.bl.uk/sisterhood, a panel of women with direct links with the peace camp at Greenham look at how both sides tried to win the argument and capture hearts and minds.

 Folio Fiction Festival: On Context

9 March / 15.30 - 16.30 
£8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5
Conference Centre

Pankaj Mishra, Rachel Kushner, Andrew O’Hagan and Rachel Cooke are all writers whose work has touched on social and cultural change around the world. Here they will discuss how storytelling reflects and is shaped by the context in which it is written. A book signing by the participants will take place in the British Library Entrance Hall after the event.

 Folio Fiction Festival: The Reading Room

9 March / 11.15 - 17.00 / free
Manuscripts Reading Room

Throughout the day, the authors shortlisted for the Folio Prize 2014 are giving readings from their work and answering questions. Uniquely, these short, free events will take place in the tranquil surroundings of the Manuscripts Reading Room (Level 2). Places at each set of readings will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please queue at the Manuscripts Reading Room.

 Open Day: Conservation for the International Dunhuang Project

12 March / various times starting from 14.00 / free
Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation

Between 1900 and 1916 the archaeologist and scholar Aurel Stein led three expeditions to  the Taklamakan and Lop Deserts of western China in search of the sand-buried settlements of the Silk Road. He excavated scores of sites and discovered numerous artefacts including over 40,000 manuscripts and early printed documents in over 20 languages and scripts. The conservation team and IDP Studios are now offering the opportunity to meet the conservators and digitisation team to learn about their work on IDP and the Stein Silk Road manuscripts.

 History Relived – Storytelling workshop

31 March / 10.00 – 16.00 / £5

A fun day of social media storytelling and an opportunity to explore The British Newspaper Archive. Crossover Labs will guide you in using today’s social media to uncover the past. Take inspiration from the archive to create characters, bring their stories to life and discover the worlds those people lived in. Participants will be required to bring with them a personal laptop and a smart phone.

 Seeing is Believing: Picturing the Nation’s Health

28 April / 18.45 - 20.00 
£8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5
Conference Centre

When it comes to our health, what convinces us to change our unhealthy behaviour? What is the role of graphics and data visualisation in the communication of risk to the public? Join UK Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies and David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge Winton Professor for the Understanding of Risk and author of the Norm Chronicles, for a discussion about our perception of risk when it comes to our health. From Florence Nightingale to the work of contemporary public health professionals, explore how picturing health information can reveal hidden meaning and change lives. Author and Radio 4 presenter Michael Blastland will chair the evening.

 The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

9 May / 10:30 - 17:45
£15 / £10
Conference Centre

Living by the pen has always been a difficult prospect, haunted by the possibilities of failure, debt and insignificance. At this day symposium, Jon Mee (University of York), Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent), Josephine McDonagh (King's College London) and Max Saunders (King's College London) will draw on the Archive of the Royal Literary Fund to explore some of the many ways that writers have tried and failed to secure fame and wealth. Topics will include the radical schemes of the Fund's first decade, the particular struggles of women writers, the effects of the Fund's Victorian bureaucracy and the difficulties faced by the great figures of Modernism. The fee also includes access to the evening event, The Royal Literary Fund and the Struggling Author.

Generously supported by the Royal Literary Fund.

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.