Extending our national reach

A woman looking at George Eliot’s Middlemarch manuscript on display.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry coinciding with the bicentenary of her birth in Warwickshire. © British Library

Thanks to generous support from the Helen Hamlyn Trust, more people than ever across the UK are able to engage with precious items from what is truly their national collection.

Through a nationwide partnership programme we deliver exceptional cultural experiences with regional libraries, museums and galleries. Treasures on Tour is an initiative that has enabled smaller venues to borrow items that resonate strongly with their local audience. In 2019 we loaned George Eliot’s Middlemarch – written in her own hand – to venues in Coventry and Nuneaton to celebrate the author’s 200th birthday in the area where she was born.

  • 750,000 people across the UK engaged with Library supported activities
  • Over 53.000 visitors to regional venues where our Middlemarch manuscript was on display

Through our network of libraries, the Living Knowledge Network, we have expanded the reach of our major exhibitions by providing 25 venues with accompanying displays. As well as providing people across the UK with easy access to our exhibition content, local libraries are encouraged to engage with their own collections and curate exhibitions for their users to explore and enjoy.

“The Middlemarch manuscript is a wonderful addition to our George Eliot bicentenary display. It has raised the profile of the display regionally and we have had visitors arriving as the museum opens to view it. Without the Treasures on Tour scheme we would not have had the resources to bring this fantastic object to Coventry – the basis of George Eliot’s Midland town of Middlemarch.”

Ali Wells, Curator at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum


Find out how your support has made a difference

Your support

Find our how your support has made a difference.

Playing our part

The importance of our archives proved ever greater during lockdown.

Opening up access to early manuscripts

A generous donation from The Goldhammer Foundation allowed us to make discoveries.

Expanding our cultural programme

Our exhibitions reflect the richness of our collection and indulge every curiosity.

Insight into an exceptional mind

Bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s innovation to life through a creative partnership.

Meet Lenore

Lenore England set up the ‘Patricia G. and Jonathan S. England – British Library Innovation Fund’ to support us.

Growing our collection

Securing knowledge and culture for future generations.

New Sound Gallery opens

The American Trust for the British Library generously funded a new free exhibition.

The next generation

Inspiring online learning with the launch of Discovering Children’s Books.

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