Living Knowledge blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

Introduction

Experts and directors at the British Library blog about strategy, key projects and future plans Read more

01 July 2020

The collecting continues

A sound engineer at a mixing desk.

During the Covid-19 pandemic teams from across the Library have been collecting audio, websites, diaries and testimony to capture experiences of lockdown and protect these resources as part of the national collection.

A snippet of what we’ve been collecting includes:

  • Off-air recordings from 17 television channels and up to 60 radio stations, including community radio stations. We’re capturing all of the daily government updates, news programmes and TV specials.
  • Over 3,000 websites (and counting) about the pandemic, with an open call continuing. The collection will eventually be freely available on the UK Web Archive Pandemic Outbreaks Collection
  • Unedited conversations from the Listening Project on Radio 4, which is now inviting people who don't know each other but who would like to get to know each better to have a conversation.
  • The Covid Chronicles; listener experiences of life during the coronavirus pandemic, in 400-words. All of them will be archived by the Library.

We’re also working on partnership projects to collect personal experiences from around the country, and creating a national database of coronavirus-related oral history and testimony projects. Do you have a collecting project? If so please submit details to camille.johnston@bl.uk.

We’ve also continued our work taking in items under legal deposit throughout lockdown, including newspapers, and will be working to catalogue these as we return to our buildings.

24 June 2020

Love our library?

You may not be able to visit our Reading Rooms just yet but we’ve curated a selection of Zoom backgrounds for you to download, so it’ll be like you’re back in Humanities 1.

Not on Zoom? Add these to your desktop, phone background or wherever you need a little bit of the Library.

Not only that, but if its library love you need we have the perfect range in our online shop, which is open for orders. Every purchase supports the Library, helping us to keep minds open even when our doors are closed.

Zoom backgrounds handpicked for you by our Marketing team

Click on the images below to download the full size version.

View of main entrance of British Library
A view of the concourse inside the British Library - Click on the image to download the full size version.

Gate of the British Library
The main gate of the British Library - Click on the image to download the full size version.

View of a Reading Room inside the British Library
A British Library Reading Room - Click on the image to download the full size version.

The King's Library in the centre of the British Library's building in St Pancras
The King's Library - Click on the image to download the full size version.

A Reading Room in the British Library
A British Library Reading Room - Click on the image to download the full size version.

23 June 2020

Open for change: stories, articles and events to get you started

Change is in the air. We see it on the streets as people protest racial and social injustice. We see it in worldwide Pride celebrations. We see it in impassioned debates about identity and representation.

 As the home to an impossible number of ideas, histories and stories, we see the need for many voices, for diverse perspectives, for conversations pushed to the margins.

 Change begins with listening – to painful lessons from the past and to those imagining a different future. Here are some stories to get you started.

 

Windrush Day, 72 years on

A woman arrives at Southampton Docks, 1956
A woman arrives in Britain from the Caribbean

 

On 22 June 1948 the Empire Windrush arrived in Essex, carrying hundreds of people from the Caribbean. But this wasn’t the start of Britain’s relationship with the Caribbean; nor would it be the end. What was waiting for these passengers when they stepped off the ship? Windrush Stories explores the legacy of colonialism and first-hand experiences of the Windrush generation, alongside the works of writers including Andrea Levy, John Agard and Benjamin Zephaniah. 

 

From actor to activist

Michael Cashman on stage with Ian McKellen
Michael Cashman in conversation with Ian McKellen

 

The parades and marches that mark Pride are on hold this year but you can still listen to world-class LGBTQ+ speakers this month. Catch up on Michael Cashman in Conversation, presented by Ian McKellen, to hear about his extraordinary life. From actor to activist, founding member of Stonewall to MEP – what has he learned along the way? 

 

Starting early

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. Copyright © 2018 Jessica Love

 

Children’s books are a great way to talk to little ones about challenging subjects and inspire them to change the world. And you never know – grown-ups could learn a thing or two as well. In this article on Discovering Children’s Books, Michael Rosen and Kimberley Reynolds explore books that make a difference, including Jessica Love's Julián is a Mermaid, which examines themes of non-conforming gender identity and acceptance.

 

Cultural changemakers

Kanya King CBE, CEO and founder of MOBO, presents at the 2018 Inspiring Entrepreneurs event
Kanya King CBE, CEO and founder of MOBO, presents at the 2018 Inspiring Entrepreneurs event


 

In 2018 MOBO CEO and founder Kanya King CBE, authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, and actor Femi Oguns MBE reflected on the cultural impact of Black British entrepreneurs in the creative sector, as part of the Business & IP Centre's Inspiring Entrepreneurs event series. This is your chance to hear the secrets behind their success and get some top business tips too.

 

Digital Engagement Team