Custodianship

We build, curate and preserve the UK’s national collection of published, written and digital content.

Our collections grow significantly all the time – by some 0.8 kilometres of new physical items and 6.8 new terabytes of digital content each month, to be precise. Accordingly, everything we do at the Library is underpinned by our responsibilities as custodians of the 150,000,000 plus items that make up the extraordinary collections that we want future generations to enjoy just as much as we do. That means there’s an increasing dependence upon the skills and expertise of a wide range of people to understand, interpret and develop the diverse and complex collections we hold, and the challenges they face.

Our priorities between now and 2023 to support our Custodianship purpose are to address the growing preservation and access challenges for our historic, audio and recorded music collections. We are also working with our UK Non-Print Legal Deposit partners to develop the national collection of born-digital content and ensure its long-term preservation. And, we are developing our collection management capacity at our Boston Spa site to offer shared services that help deliver efficiencies for other public organisations. In short, the years ahead are set to bring new challenges in custodianship, and we intend to be ready to tackle them.

Portfolios

These five major transformation programmes show how we're achieving our Living Knowledge vision.

Everyone Engaged

Our mission is to make our intellectual heritage available to everyone for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

Everything Available

We're modernising our support for researchers of all kinds.

St Pancras Transformed

We're expanding the British Library’s campus in St Pancras, London.

Heritage Made Digital

We will transform digital access to our collections of heritage materials.

BL North

We're developing our Boston Spa site to meet the information management challenges of the 21st century.