November 30, 2020

UK: A New Library For the British Film Institute?

From the British Film Institute (BFI) Web Site:

The BFI is facing huge and exciting changes across all areas of its business since it became the lead body for film in April this year. As part of this new chapter for the BFI, we are exploring ways to modernise and expand the offering of the BFI National Library to create the leading centre for film knowledge in the UK both as a physical place to visit and online for everyone.

The current Library facilities are outdated and in urgent need of upgrading and modernising, the number of users has been declining, and its remarkable resources are separate from the wider programming and content delivery across the BFI.

We are investigating the options around moving the Library from its current home in Stephen Street to our nearby venue on London’s South Bank. This will provide an unparalleled opportunity for us to reappraise what this world-class resource can offer and how it can be made available to a wider audience. It will also enable us to offer extended opening days and hours.

While we would take with us most of the current book and periodical collection in regular use, we are not just seeking a new Library space; our biggest ambition is also to continue investment in our digital capability to allow us to engage more effectively with new and broader audiences.

To help produce a great solution both for Library users and the BFI we have tendered and will shortly brief a firm of architects to draw up a creative concept for the space available at BFI Southbank. The response should be complete in December and will be used to inform a decision on the next phase of the Library development – including timeframe, scope and cost.

Initial responses to our proposals have been generally hugely positive, but there is also some concern that the move will reduce our existing services or make access more difficult. The services will change but our committed aim is to expand, improve and modernise our Library offering.

If you would like to join a mailing list to receive regular updates on the progress of our plans for the BFI National Library, please email your contact details to newlibrary@bfi.org.uk. It would be helpful if you could also state your relationship to the current Library for example, ‘researcher’ or ‘general interest’.

For further information, please click here to read some frequently asked questions about the proposed Library changes.

See Also: BFI Launches Searchable Archive of Ancient Film Clips

See Also: BFI and British Library Join Forces to Increase Access to Their Unique Collections

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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