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British Library promises to support university libraries

The new chief executive of the British Library has pledged to support libraries of the UK universities as some of them struggle to provide top-class services in financially straitened times.

Roly Keating joined the British Library in September 2012 after 30 years at the BBC. Mr Keating supports the idea of free access to British Library resources. In his words the library should be “a resource for anyone who wants to do research, provided they have a bona fide research project and need to use our collections”. The library has also begun a long term process of converting its resources into digital forms accessible increasingly from the internet.

Mr Keating has said that he wants the library to soon become “a privileged special public space, where specialists can come together and share”. The British library will aim to provide advice and information resources to individual university libraries, which will increase the volume of information readily available to students dramatically. Mr Keating added this emphasis to the work of the British Library after being impressed by  “how resourceful and strategic” university libraries have been in responding to financial constraints, both by increasing collaboration and by putting “a premium on unique collections, and being bolder, clearer and louder about the value of those”.

Source: Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Educational

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