The British Architectural Library, located at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), today announced that members of the public will be able to access the library completely free of charge from 2 January 2008.
The largest and most comprehensive resource in Europe for research and information on all aspects of architecture, the British Architectural Library was established in 1834 at the founding of the RIBA. Since that date it has been almost wholly funded by RIBA members. In October 2005 it was recognised as having outstanding national and international importance under the Designation Scheme by The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Scheme recognises that organisations with Designated collections care for a significant part of England's cultural heritage.
The British Architectural Library is part of the RIBA Trust – the UK's national architecture centre that focuses on education, public outreach and the role of architecture in culture.
The library collections number close to four million objects: books, periodicals, manuscripts, archives, drawings, photographs, models, paintings, medals and artefacts. Books, periodicals and photographs are located at the RIBA headquarters, 66 Portland Place, London. Drawings and archives are located at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), under the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership. As part of opening up the collection to the widest possible audience RIBApix was launched in 2006. It is now possible to view up to 16,000 photographs, drawings and etchings online.
This is a new year gift to the public in abolishing the admission charge', said Dr Irena Murray, Director of the Library. 'Through increasing accessibility to the British Architectural Library we aim to enable more and more people to research and enjoy the collections within it, both online and in person.'