British Library sound archives. Photo by Clare Kendall

Open, Creative, Innovative – British Library announces ambitious vision for 2023

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Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library has argued for renewed and sustained investment in the UK’s knowledge infrastructure, as he launches Living Knowledge, an ambitious vision of the Library’s future as it looks towards its 50thanniversary in 2023.

Living Knowledge sets out a vision of the British Library as an open, creative and innovative institution, committed to supporting research, culture and growth in the UK. It defines the Library’s enduring public purposes – in custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international relations – and makes the case for its growing importance at the heart of the UK’s national system of knowledge and innovation, at a time of transformation in technology and data science.

Roly Keating commented: ‘Living Knowledge argues that the British Library is a visionary idea whose full potential is only just beginning to be realised as we fully enter the digital age. The UK’s continuing success in a globalised world depends upon the freest possible flow of ideas, inspiration and information, and libraries – not just the national library, but the whole, inter-connecting network of public and academic libraries across the UK – are the vital enabler of that.’

A view from inside the King's Library at St Pancras. Photo by Tony Antoniou
A view from inside the King’s Library at St Pancras. Photo by Tony Antoniou

The British Library will embark on a new generation of major projects, working with partners across the UK and internationally, that will support its mission to make our intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

These projects include digitally preserving the nation’s 6.5 million sound recordings, extending the successful Business & IP Centres to 20 UK city libraries, and growing the diversity of the Library’s cultural and learning programmes onsite and online in ways that reach more people across the UK.

Roly Keating added: ‘The genius of the British Library’s founders was to combine an Enlightenment heritage with a determination to keep pace with research and science in all its forms. Now the Library has to adapt to enable people to use technology and data to create new things with our collections and drive knowledge and growth creation in the 21st century.

‘These are times of historic disruption in the whole global system of information and publication,’ he concluded, ‘it therefore seems right that the great knowledge institutions – with their historic remit to think and act with a view far into the future – should play a full part in shaping the changes that lie ahead.’

For more news follow the Living Knowledge blog.


(from a press release)

(top image: British Library sound archives.
Photo by Clare Kendall)