Playing our part

A woman wearing a mask looks at a large globe in a display cabinet.

The global health crisis required a radical change as we steered the Library through the initial emergency phase and supported the national effort in the fight against COVID-19.

  • Prioritised 800 research requests from health institutions
  • 30% increase in collection items viewed online
  • 20% more visitors to digital learning sites

The importance of our collection proved ever greater during lockdown. While our buildings were closed we continued to offer services online, prioritising urgent medical requests and providing resources to hundreds of businesses seeking advice.

With many parents unexpectedly home schooling their children, our digital learning resources proved especially popular, driving new audiences to engage with our collection.

And throughout all of this, we have been archiving articles, journals and personal accounts of the pandemic to help the researchers of the future.

The continued generosity of our supporters has been a great reassurance during this difficult time and enabled us to prioritise helping the national recovery while maintaining vital services and our collections.


Find out how your support has made a difference

Your support

Find our how your support has made a difference.

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.

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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