Magazine article History Today

A Tale of Two Libraries

Magazine article History Today

A Tale of Two Libraries

Article excerpt

AMONG THE MANY ORGANIZATIONS we rely on to produce this magazine each month, two of the finest are the London Library and the British Library. The privately-run and hugely helpful London Library offers an incredible collection, with a civilized policy on lending most of its treasures. When readers--and contributors--comment on the obscure but apposite nature of the pictures we publish, very often we have the London Library to thank for making it possible. Its praises have been sung by many literary lions over the years--but we were delighted to learn that others in the business of publishing illustrated history value its qualifies as highly as we do: as you can read on the opposite page, the prize money for our picture researcher of the year award is being donated to the London Library to help it continue in its unique manner.

Yet, some might say that its far larger companion, the publicly-funded British Library, is even more urgently in need of a cash injection. Having settled into its magnificent buildings on the Euston Road, it is now facing a funding crisis that threatens to reduce its services far below the standards of excellence we have grown used to. The British Library, and the British Museum Library which formed the heart of the new Library on its incorporation in 1973, has always been another magnificent source of pictures for us, especially of manuscripts and old printed books, many of them never previously photographed. …

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