Building the Future

Building the Future will shape the development of the British Library’s campus in St Pancras, London – one of the great public buildings of the last century.

We're expanding our campus in St Pancras, London

Published date:

What we will do

Our mission is to adapt and expand our St Pancras site, making it one of the UK’s most open, creative and innovative public spaces for the 21st century. 

A new extension to the Library, along with changes to the existing building, will allow us to display and celebrate the sheer diversity of our users, activities and collections. And it will be where our Living Knowledge vision will come literally and visibly to life.

Our objectives include:

  • more exhibition spaces, increasing public access to our vast world-class collections
  • new facilities for learners of all ages, with expanded programmes for schools, colleges, families, adult learners and local communities
  • improved public areas and accessibility, with more places to sit and study
  • an enhanced offering for business users, building on the success of our Business & IP Centre
  • increased engagement and collaboration with existing and new audiences, in particular the local community
  • a new northern entrance close to the Francis Crick Institute and the main St Pancras Station concourse
  • a permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK national centre for data science and artificial intelligence
  • flexible accommodation for third-party companies, institutions and research organisations seeking to work at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter.

Why we're doing this

  • The needs of our audiences are rapidly outgrowing our current building's facilities including learning spaces and exhibition galleries
  • the nature of research has evolved very significantly since the Library was designed, with the revolution in digital content and the changing nature of research demanding new kinds of areas for collaborative, flexible and technologically-enabled spaces
  • the success of our Business & IP Centre has created growing demand for new kinds of versatile start-up incubator spaces which cannot be met by our current facilities.

How we'll do it

  • We have appointed a commercial development partner (SMBL Developments Ltd) to develop the 2.8 acres of land to the north of the site creating new gallery, learning, business and commercial spaces and a permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute.
  • We will create new spaces in the current building including a new restaurant, Members’ Room and an updated Knowledge Centre with a new Members’ Bar, as well as refreshed exhibition galleries, shop, piazza, and new and extended learning and research spaces.
  • The new Library extension will allow us to contribute to our long term financial sustainability by way of a lump sum capital receipt from the developer and a share of the long term rental income from commercial tenants within the new development.

Key milestones

  • 2020–2029: Continue engagement with external stakeholders, in particular the local community
  • September 2020: Begin formal consultation process with the local community
  • 2020–2022: Planning Application process
  • 2023–2025: Mobilisation and enabling works
  • 2025–2029: Build and fit-out
  • 2029: New Library spaces operational

We will update this timeline when we have more detailed information.