Meet Lenore

Lenore England

Lenore England is a former librarian based in the USA who generously set up the ‘Patricia G. and Jonathan S. England – British Library Innovation Fund’ to support the Library. She kindly gave her time to tell us more about her philanthropy, her relationship with us and why libraries matter now more than ever.

How did you first get involved with the British Library?

I had a meeting with a publisher in London six years ago, and they chose the British Library as our meeting place. I always knew the British Library by name thanks to its wonderful reputation, but this meeting prompted my first visit. When I walked inside the Library I was in awe – the beautiful stairs, all the activity, seeing people really working. I thought it was a beautiful place to work – everyone was so glad to be there. Libraries are a refuge for a lot of people.

How does the Library’s mission match your own beliefs and philanthropic interests?

I find philanthropy very fulfilling and deeply rewarding. I worked as a librarian for 25 years so research is important to me, and the British Library was top of my list. It looks after our cultural and intellectual heritage, past and future, and makes it accessible to everyone. The vision of an institution is key, and the Library’s mission statement captured my philanthropic pursuits – to be open, creative and innovative.

Your generous funding has newly established the ‘Patricia G. and Jonathan S. England – British Library Innovation Fund’. What excites you about the impact this fund will have on our work?

It is so important to give support not just for now, but for the future. I want to support innovation at a grassroots level, which can evolve over time as technology and culture change. The Library is the perfect place to do that. It’s clear here that working with technology is essential, making the Library’s collection more widely available in the UK and internationally.

I have also been inspired by the Library’s development department. They facilitate my connection with other staff and the organisation as a whole. I want to support their work by speaking out about what motivates me to give and working closely with the team to unlock new fundraising opportunities. I hope my approach will inspire other donors.

What do you wish other people knew about the British Library?

People need to look inside! The building is beautiful, but for me what’s most important is how the British Library supports people both in person and online. You have a great reach-out to the public and superb staff that can help people find what they’re looking for. Sometimes people come in with cryptic questions and the staff know exactly how to interpret them. The work that goes on behind the scenes is amazing – moving books from A to B, getting the collection online and providing services. Libraries are about open access, freedom of information and supporting people. The British Library is a place for people to be themselves.


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.

Extending our national reach

Thanks to the Helen Hamlyn Trust, more people than ever can engage with precious items.

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.

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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