Join us for a fun and creative Discovery Day uncovering the British Library’s inspiring collections and wondrous architecture
How many books does the British Library hold? Is our biggest atlas really five feet tall? What happens in the basements beneath our building? Find out the answers to all of these questions and more as we take you on a journey to reveal the secrets of the British Library.
Families are invited to take part in an exciting day of interactive storytelling, theatrical family trails, illustration and book conservation workshops, as well as experiments with sound and moving image.
FREE | Drop in | Suitable for all ages
Illustration Treasure Trove
11.00 – 12.00, 13.00 – 14.00 and 15.00 – 16.00
Be amazed by the Library’s beautiful manuscripts collection. Create monstrous cover designs for Beowulf. Make a pictorial splash with our 16th-century swimming manual. Design your own coat of arms inspired by a guide to heraldry or go wild with illustrations for the Fables of Bidpay animal tales.
11.30 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 15.30
Taking inspiration from our enormous stamp collection, journey around the Library to discover the stories of birds and insects that appeared on 20th-century post. Expect storytelling, magic lanterns and letter-writing, in an interactive trail.
*Please note: the trail starts in the Entrance Hall at the main Information Desk and will finish in the Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre.
Cabinet of Curiosities
11.00 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 15.30
Create a cabinet of curiosities inspired by the King’s Library. What might we find there? How might we display a collection of lost or forgotten things, of invisible possibilities, of tastes, sounds and smells?
Upper Ground Floor
Library Legends and Fables
11.20 – 12.00, 13.00 – 13.40 and 14.20 – 15.00
Hear storyteller Kevin Graal share legends and fables, together with amazing true stories inspired by the Library's Treasures collection. Fun for all the family guaranteed, as books will speak but silence will not be allowed.
Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre | Room 1
Playing with Architecture
11.15 – 12.45 and 13.45 – 15.15
How many bricks are in the British Library? How many windows do we have? Discover the secrets behind our magnificent building in this interactive workshop.
Decorating an Object
11.30 – 12.30, 13.15 – 14.15 and 15.00 – 16.00
Come and stamp your creative personality on a blank box or a picture frame using découpage, the art of decorating an object using paper cut-outs. You will then be able to take your colourful artwork home to treasure forever.
12.00 – 13.30 and 14.30 – 16.00
Make the likes of Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll proud by inventing new words, then have them added into our word bank and enjoy hearing poems and rhymes.
The British Library family programme is generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity and The Sackler Trust
Part of Bloomsbury Festival 2016