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The British Library

Home > London > Art | Books and Writing | Cultural Events | Exhibitions | Libraries
by Joanna Sopylo-Firrisa (subscribe)
Writer by passion, administrator by profession. I check what life brings and turn it into writing.
Published November 4th 2012
It's much better than you can imagine
Friendly staff, number of books and a positive intellectual atmosphere you don't experience everywhere. These are only a few of the things The British Library offer to readers and visitors. There is much more to explore.

I visit the The British Library area from time to time but have never really gone inside until recently. It always seems too sophisticated, too complicated and not easily accessible to a random person. How mistaken I was, I found out, when a friend who doesn't live in London asked me to get a copy of few pages of a book for her.

As soon as I got inside I soaked with the atmosphere of this place and felt a real hunger for knowledge. It's like going back to uni but without the necessity of passing tests and coming to classes. Instantly, I wanted to read all the books which I can and participate in smart conversations people had outside of reading rooms.

First I needed to register, though. The process went smoothly and after a few minutes I had my newly shining pass with picture taken at the desk in my hand. Next step was to go to the lockers or cloakroom. I switched the most necessary items from my bag to the plastic bag library offers at the entrance. And bravely I moved towards humanities reading room.

As a new visitor I needed a hand from the staff but after a few minutes I was happily holding the book I needed and copies of few pages for my friend. Just one last thing - I went to put the book back to the shelf and discovered that all this time, Cambridge History of Africa was sitting on the shelf right behind me. You can imagine my happiness, as an African Studies graduate. If I could I would sit down and read all volumes in one go. Maybe next time.

Books, reading rooms and similar things are part of The British Library's attractions. The place also offers regular free exhibitions. Recent ones are Mughal India. Art, Culture and Empire, which depicts the history of this Asian empire between 16 and 19th century, and On the Road: Jack Kerouac's manuscript scroll, related to a special book written by 20th century's American novelist.

That's not even a small part of special events BL offers. Between 12th and 16th you can take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week which includes seminars and meeting with world recognized entrepreneurs or take part in Mughal Nites, a time full of dancing, fun and art, in the theme related to the exhibition mentioned above.

All year round you can also book a tour around library before you sign up for a reader card. Go there once and you will realize that it's friendly and rich in resources.

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Why? Because it's a place full of knowledge and fun
Website: www.bly.uk
Where: Euston Road, St. Pancras
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