Living Knowledge blog

27 July 2017

Going global – the British Library Annual Report 2016-17

Annual Report cover-571
Did you know that the British Library last year collected more than 70 terabytes of UK web domain content? Or that we opened Business & IP Centres in Exeter and Northampton, with two further pilots launching in Norwich and Hull?

These and a wealth of other facts and figures can be found in the Library’s 2016-17 Annual Report, which has just been published online, having been laid to Parliament shortly before recess. The Report includes a wealth of detail across the six Living Knowledge purposes that define our activity: Custodianship, Research, Learning, Culture, International and Business.

As well as a narrative account of the year’s achievements, the report includes full details of how we have delivered against Key Performance Indicators such as satisfaction levels with our Reading Rooms and exhibitions and user numbers for our online resources.

Highlights from the past year included:

  • 330,000 physical items added to the collection through Legal Deposit
  • 174,000 digital publications added through Non-Print Legal Deposit (14.5% above target)
  • World-class acquisitions including P G Wodehouse’s archive, Will Self’s archive and works by Elgar and Handel
  • British Library status as an Independent Research Organisation (IRO) expanded to all UK research councils
  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Business & IP Centre with an open day for entrepreneurs
  • 636 jobs created in SMEs and other business thanks to Business & IP Centre support
  • Major exhibitions to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and exploring maps in the 20th century
  • Our first ever touring exhibition programme – on subjects ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Punk – and reaching more than 40,000 people beyond London
  • A record-breaking 7 million visitors to our Learning website, and 35,000 teachers and students taking part in on-site learning experiences
  • 250 international engagements with more than 50 countries, including major loans and touring exhibitions to India and China
  • A major collaboration with Bibliothèque nationale de France to digitise 800 manuscripts from the period 700-1200

In their introduction, Chairman Baroness Blackstone and Chief Executive Roly Keating expressed their pride in what they described as “an exceptional year for advancing the Library’s international purpose, working with partners around the world to advance knowledge and mutual understanding.”

The Report is illustrated throughout with vivid photography of collection items, events and exhibitions, along with the vital facts and figure of the Library’s financial operations in the clearly laid-out Accounts section. Whether you wish to explore in depth or prefer a swift flick through, the Annual Report and Accounts offers an unparalleled picture of the breadth and diversity of British Library’s activities and ambitions. Explore it here.

Rob Field

Public Policy Manager

Editor, Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17