The British Library

During our trip to London, the library team visited the British Library, which is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued. The British Library is also one of our partners for inter-library loans. Read on to find out more about these.

bl2But first, some facts and figures about the British Library! The British Library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from many countries, in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, playscripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The library’s collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The British Library adds some three million items every year. The building at St Pancras is the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century.

bl1You cannot find the item you are looking for in our library? Contact us! Through the inter-library loan system, our users (staff and member states’ delegates from the permanent representations) can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. We have agreements with the European Commission libraries, the Union Catalogue of Belgian Libraries and the British Library. Just contact us and we will identify supplying libraries, place the request, receive the item, make it available to you and arrange for its return.

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