My favourite story in local news this week; The British Library in London has been made a Grade I Listed building – at the tender age of 18!
As you may or may not be aware, usually a building has to be over 30 years old before it is considered; therefore this is most out of the ordinary but none the less, wonderful. Nor is the British Library alone, seven more libraries are to be given Grade II status, though some of these are much older.
The British Library itself already has one or two claims to fame. It is the largest public building to have been built in the 20th Century and is home to prestigious documents like the Magna Carta manuscripts and let us not forget; handwritten Beatles lyrics.
The building of the library took 15 years and even after it opened its doors in 1997, it was a further four years before all of the books were moved inside. It is said to hold 14 million or so books in its five floored frame – at the centre of which is George III’s library. The 506 million pound architectural beauty is also said to house Shakespeare’s first folio and Gutenberg’s 1455 Bible; surely two of the greatest pieces of fiction ever written.
To me, it is an event to be celebrated. We hear every day of the decline of literature, how fewer and fewer people spend their leisure time reading and how Amazon’s Kindle and the like have killed the need for a real solid paperback. Surely, this must be taken as proof to the contrary?