Anything But Silent: A British Library Podcast

Buzzing, creative, brave. Places of sanctuary, freedom, and the unexpected. Libraries don’t just keep our stories safe; they’re where new stories begin. Meet the people around the world making amazing things happen in them. Hosted by Cleo Laskarin from our exhibitions team. 

Books are only the beginning. Libraries are alive, and they’re anything but silent.

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Supported by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.

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Anything But Silent

S1 E7 Have library, will travel
Don’t be a numpty: have a skeg at our latest episode and get your lugholes around some UK accents and dialects, join bookmobile Booky McBookface on the Scottish islands of Orkney, and discover the library boldly going where no library has gone before.


S1 E6 Joining the library: Joe Dunthorne
‘The first time you see something you’ve experienced captured in a way that feels accurate, it’s really memorable and changing.’ The novelist and poet Joe Dunthorne discusses Politics by Adam Thirlwell (2003) and writing about sex. Contains some profanity and sexual content.

S1 E5 [Redacted]
We open up ‘the world’s best collection of forbidden books’ and consider current restrictions on free expression, plus two librarians talk weeding and Awful Library Books.

S1 E4 Joining the library: Samra Habib
Writer and photographer Samra Habib discusses the writing that made her: James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni's Room. Contains plot spoilers.

S1 E3 Love is love
Journey to New York for a milestone 50th anniversary, hear stories of love and identity in wartime Britain as we dip into the British Library’s oral history collection, and meet the drag queens and kings making library story hours fabulous.


S1 E2 Joining the library: Laurie Penny
The sentence that set you on a new path. The library book you struggled to take back. The writing that made you. Author, journalist and screenwriter Laurie Penny join us to discuss what Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre means to her. Contains spoilers…

S1 E1 The library is open
‘The freedom to dream. That’s the most beautiful thing about a library. No matter who you are, there’s a book for you.’ We take a look at a world-famous document that’s a powerful symbol of liberty, hear how the prison library at HMP Nottingham is working with those who’ve lost their freedom, and travel to Nepal where a library in a remote village is helping women vulnerable to human trafficking.

Trailer Introducing the British Library's new podcast