The British Museum Library first started publishing in around 1780. The original productions were catalogues of the core collections of the library, a tradition which has continued until the present day.
British Library Publishing was founded in 1981, and has grown substantially since then, both in terms of breadth and number of publications. Our scope has now widened to include the art and history of books and manuscripts, including sacred texts, facsimile editions of valuable texts and general guides to our more famous collection items. We currently publish around 50 books and audio CDs a year.
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world-class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.
Based primarily in London and Boston Spa, the British Library serves business and industry, researchers, academics and students, in the UK and world-wide. Each year six million searches are generated by the British Library online catalogue, and nearly 400,000 visit our Reading Rooms.