Literary London: The British Library

The British Library has so much knowledge held within it that it is an overwhelming (but exciting!) place to visit! It is the national library of the United Kingdom and holds over 150 million items.

The marriage of print texts and beautiful physical books with technology, allowing search and access, is remarkably demonstrated on the network of websites within the Library.

Here are just some of the treasures that you can access online as well.

It is the home of the Magna Carta, a parchment from the year 1215 that documents the justice system of the time and places limits on the King’s authority. You can view it online.

Read some of the most famous books online including Leonardo Da Vinci sketches, Lewis Carroll’s Alic in Wonderland, Henry VIII’s psalter (prayer book). You can also check out the Gutenberg Bible – the earliest printed book, as well as Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur , Chaucer and Shakespeare manuscripts.

Check out some of the resident blogs here, including Henry VIII blog (anyone else love The Tudors!)

It is part of the Codex Sinaiticus Project – the handwritten Bible over 1600 years old – you can view the entire manuscript online (what’s left of it anyway!)

Here is a brilliant gift idea for bibliophiles – Adopt a Book and help preserve physical books

The Library also embraces technology – they are on Twitter @britishlibrary and on YouTube as well as Facebook

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons SteveCadman

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