Nobody who uses the British Library in St Pancras can have read this weekend's reports on the subject without horror.
Facing the prospect of a seven per cent cut in its £100 million annual budget, the library has announced (not without a certain amount of calculation) that it might have to start charging readers for entry, reduce its opening hours, and/or – most horrifying of all – cut its collection of books and manuscripts by 15 per cent.
The British Library is an absolute paradise on earth. It is warm, clean, comfortable, accommodating and quiet. Its on-site catering, like its wireless internet access, might be extortionately priced and only intermittently satisfactory. But what it is supposed to do, it does – and does so brilliantly it could make you weep.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
In The Telegraph, Sam Leith states the case for the defence of the British Library.