British library opens £26 million Additional Storage Space

By Graham Pembrey | 04 December 2009
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photo of a large building with a futuristic looking appendage on the outside

An external view of The British Library's Additional Storage Building in Yorkshire

A vast new £26 million storage building, which is being hailed as the most advanced facility of its kind in the world, has been opened at the British Library site in Yorkshire.

Masses of archived items – mainly those that are not used regularly, including books, patent specifications and newspapers – are currently being moved to the building from the Library’s site at St Pancras in London.

Eventually, it is planned that seven million items will be held at the 262-kilometer 'Additional Storage Building', which is regulated for temperature and humidity to protect items, and has a low level of oxygen to reduce the risk of fire.

A grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport made the project possible. Rosie Winterton MP, who is Minister for Yorkshire and Humber and opened the site, called it a “nationally significant facility”.

photo of a crane next to stacked metallic looking pallettes

The British Library's Additional Storage Building in Yorkshire being built

Steve Morris, Director of Finance and Public Services at the Library, said: “These collections form a substantial part of the memory of the nation and we are delighted to now be able to store them in environmental conditions that will ensure their long-term survival.”

He added that the building was part of a "70-year masterplan" to invest in the area. The Library is hoping to build a Newspaper Storage Building at the site depending on a planning decision from Leeds City Council later this month.

Morris added that if the latter goes ahead it will make the facility into the "finest collection of its kind in the world".

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