A person viewing a collection item

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

Among the estimated 170 million items we care for are books, journals, newspapers, patents, maps, prints, manuscripts, stamps, photographs, sound recordings, digital publications of all kinds and over 20 billion pages of UK web content. This remarkable collection grows every day, driven by our Legal Deposit mandate to collect everything that’s published in the UK, whether physical or digital. Our role is to develop, preserve and provide access to this vast resource, for today’s users and far into the future.

Our priorities:

  • complete the renewal of our major new collection management and storage facilities at Boston Spa, safeguarding our physical collecting capacity into the second half of this century
  • upgrade the systems and infrastructure required to sustainably collect, catalogue, and preserve our digital collection
  • support the partners we work with on UK-wide preservation
  • continue evolving the practice of curatorship and librarianship, together with our partners, to keep pace with the changing needs of our diverse users.


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

Boston Spa Renewed

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