Highlights of 2021 as chosen by you

Composite image of Lindisfarne Gospels, 19th-century man and woman, and a fox in profile.

Between our busy social channels, fascinating blogs and vibrant online events programme there's a lot happening at the Library to keep you interested and entertained - but just in case you've missed something we've rounded up the 10 things our followers, readers and users have enjoyed most this year. You might be surprised by what you find...

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Met Gala gets a medieval treatment

As we followed the fashion statements of the 2021 Met Gala, we couldn’t help but think we’d seen some of them before…

Take a look back at this iconic event through the eyes of our collection in this viral Twitter thread.

What was that?

Many of you must have been trying to figure out what that strange sound from down the street was during lockdown because our top sound item this year was the sound of a red fox.

Before and after

One of our ‘before and after’ conservation posts in July started a big debate on whether it is always right to conserve. Our Collection Care team took us through how they did it on our blog, weighing up the preservation of historical evidence with the needs of future researchers.

Love Librarians

For Libraries Week in October we launched a new series, Library Lives. In it we introduced you to the wonderful people who bring public libraries to life, starting here at the British Library. We're adding to it all the time, so keep an eye out for more interviews with librarians from all around the UK.

Bringing our treasures to you

What happens to our exhibitions when they close at the Library? Well, being a Library we loan them of course.

Our team has been working hard this year to take our most popular shows to new venues around the UK and across the globe. Find out how they overcame the challenges of a pandemic and where we’ll be appearing next on our blog.

700 years of Dante

It’s been a big year for Dante and many of you joined us as we marked 700 years since his death in September. Discover who he was, why his writing was important and what incredible Dante treasures we have in our collection in our Curators on Camera video.

Begin the journey

The Lindisfarne Gospels, the most spectacular surviving manuscript from Anglo-Saxon England, will go on display in the North East of England in 2022.

Until then, you can enjoy the Lindisfarne Gospels online as one of our most popular collection items.

Gender roles in the 19th century

How much has changed in 200 years? Gender roles in the 19th century were very different to concepts of them today. Discover more about Victorian attitudes towards gender in this article which was one of our most read this year.

Books to make you smile

Books can be a source of comfort in hard times. One of our most popular events this year celebrated the 10th anniversary of World Book Night. Listen to readings and watch Sandi Toksvig, Bolu Babalola, David Nicholls and Jamie Byng talk about the books that make them happy.

Why are there French words in English?

Journey back with us as we discover why French was so common in medieval England in one of this year's most read blogs. Why was it popular and which French words do we still use now?