Anual Meeting Notes

Presentation Highlights to ATBL Annual Meeting October 20, 2014
by Frances Brindle,
Head of Audiences, BL

Presentation Highlights to ATBL Annual Meeting October 20, 2014
by Frances Brindle, Head of Audiences, BL
I want to start by thanking ATBL members for their generous support. It is thanks to you that we were able to acquire the exquisite illuminated manuscript of, ‘Le Mystere de la Vengeance’, which is on display in the Treasures gallery for all to enjoy and to fund an intern to work with our curatorial team in the lead up to the Magna Carta exhibition in 2015.
In the past four years government funding for the British Library has been reduced by more than 25% and we expect further cuts of at least 5 % a year for the next three years, so your continuing support has never been more important.

Review of 2013/14

Despite the financial challenges, the library has had an enormously busy year. In 2014 we staged two very successful, but also very different, exhibitions in our PACCAR gallery; Georgians and Comics.
As well as catering to our traditional audiences, we want to open up the library and attract new audiences who may not previously have seen its relevance. Comics came in ahead of target and we were delighted to see that 25% of visitors were new to the library and also significantly younger than visitors to the Georgian exhibition.
Our new exhibition, ‘Gothics: Terror and Wonder’ builds on this success and opened on the October 3 to visitor and critical acclaim, selling out on the first weekend. The show which traces 250 years of gothic literature beginning with Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto’, includes hand written drafts of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, right through to the present day and the popular Twilight series.
Thanks to these exhibitions and the recent refurbishment of our Treasures gallery, we are experiencing strong growth in the number of public visitors to the library. More than 700,000 visitors came to our public exhibitions and events last year and we are predicting between 800,000 and 900,000 this year.

Board of Directors:  top l to r: Stamas, (Brindle BL), Sitrick, (Wells BL), Redden, Benjamin, (Anderson ATBL). front l to r:  Golden, Zuromskis, Rubinstein, Robinson.

Board of Directors: top l to r: Stamas, (Brindle BL), Sitrick, (Wells BL), Redden, Benjamin, (Anderson ATBL). front l to r: Golden, Zuromskis, Rubinstein, Robinson.

Future Exhibition Plans

The major exhibition charting the history and influence of the Magna Carta opens on the 13 March and will include the American Bill of Rights (from the Library of Congress) and Jefferson’s copy of the Declaration of Independence (from the NYPL).
On a somewhat smaller scale, but also very timely, our new temporary exhibition, Lines in the Ice, opens in November. This will explore our fascination with polar exploration and the associated politics that continue to reverberate to the present day. Speaking at one of the events associated with the exhibition will be Ryan Harris who recently discovered, what is believed to be, traces of one of the lost ships from Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to discover the North West Passage.
British Library 50: A strategic program
The strategy will be published early in the new year and we have identified four key priorities:
•    Increasing our impact and profile outside London and the South East
•    Growing the reach and quality of our online services
•    Increasing commercial and philanthropic revenues and reducing our reliance on government funding
•   Digitizing major collections

ATBL

Chairman’s and Advisory Council: top l to r: Winegar, Ginsberg, Stam, Phipps, Bidwell, Ryan. front l to r: Adams, Stam, Shailor, Phipps.

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