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date: 15 December 2019

British Library (BL) 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History
Author(s):
Nigel RamsayNigel Ramsay

A group of libraries that was formed in 1973 out of a merger of the National Lending, Patent, and Science Reference libraries with the collections of the printed‐book and manuscript departments of the British Museum. The latter collections are the two largest of their kind in the British Isles. All of the BL's collections are freely accessible to anyone who can show reasonable need (bringing with them proof of signature, such as a passport or credit card, and of address, such as a utility bill). The main reading rooms are at 96 Euston Road, London, beside St Pancras railway station. The collections of the former National Lending Library now form part of the BL's stock of books that is housed at Boston Spa in Yorkshire, where there are further reading rooms. The extensive collections of the former India Office (including the archive of the East India Company) include much information about British people who either worked in India or were born there. Yet a further BL resource is the British Library Sound Archive (formerly called the National Sound Archive), which has over 3 million items; it is based at the St Pancras site. The Sound Archive has computerized its catalogues, so they are searchable by locality (county or place), dialect, and subject. The BL's web site gives details of all of its collections; it is also worth bearing in mind that the Library subscribes to a great many subscription‐only databases (especially of a broadly bibliographical nature), and offers free access to these in its reading rooms.... ...

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