British Library's newspaper archive receives £33m makeover
Updated 8:04am Tuesday 29th April 2014 in News
FROM today, readers of The Press will be able to view archived copies of the paper thanks to the opening of a multi-million pound newspaper reading room at the British Library.
Based at St Pancras in London, the newsroom will showcase over 300 years of local, national and regional press available in microfilm and digital formats. That’s 750m pages of newspapers and 4.8m archived websites, occupying more than 20km of shelf space.
There are 40 digital microfilm viewers, 7.8m of scanned pages of historic newspapers and more than 40,000 TV and radio news programmes.
Library goers will be able to view all the copies of The Press and under its previous name The Yorkshire Evening Press; alongside the reading room’s oldest surviving newspaper, the Stamford Mercury.
The first hi-tech reading room at the British library for more than ten years, the facility was opened yesterday by the Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid.
Coming as a culmination of a £33m investment, it will work in partnership with a purpose-built facility in Boston Spa, replacing the Colindale newspaper library in North London which is set to close.
The vast print collection at the British library will be moved to Boston Spa, which uses robotic cranes to access 262km of periodicals, manuscripts and other documents.
The facility is off-limits to the public due to the delicate nature of the documents. Oxygen levels are kept at a deliberately low level alongside the temperature and humidity conditions being strictly controlled in order to preserve the documents.
The British Library Chief Executive, Roly Keating said: “The opening of the Newsroom means that news and newspapers are now at the very heart of the British Library’s offering to researchers.
“By moving the collection out of Colindale and to Boston Spa, we’re ensuring this vast, precious and incredibly fragile resource is available not just for today’s researchers, but also future generations.”
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