A large group of AGRA/ASGRA researchers look behind the scenes at the British Library facility
Sixteen members of the AGRA/ASGRA Northern Network group visited the British Library in Boston Spa, near Wetherby, Yorkshire on an early spring afternoon in March. The Library is situated near the Thorpe Arch Trading Estate and though not accessible by public transport, car sharing was arranged from local railway stations. The visit included a meal in the British Library restaurant for those who arrived early, then a tour of the BL was conducted in two groups.
We visited the digitisation section where the BL digitises books, PhD Theses and other documents as requested by clients. We also saw the large flatbed scanners which are used to digitise large documents which includes newspapers, these are scanned at a high resolution and the images are immediately viewable on the operator’s computer screens.
After this we visited the building where the books are stored, this is not a library as we know it, but more a warehouse for books! Books are stored in crates, which are extracted from the storage facility by automatic cranes when a book is ordered either at the Boston Spa or London reading rooms. If for London, the books are loaded onto overnight vans and are available in the reading room there 24 hours after they have been ordered. Everyone agreed that they had enjoyed the visit to this modern book repository.
The next meeting will be in May and will be a visit to the College of Physicians in Edinburgh, the one after that will be in August and will be a walk around the historic city centre of Hull during its Year of Culture. Exact dates will be announced when they are known. Contact Carol Kerry-Green firstname.lastname@example.org for information.