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British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is a major research library, holding well over 150 million items from many countries, and receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland (approximately 8,000 per day). Items are in many languages and in many formats, both print and digital: books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, videos, play-scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings. The Library's collections include around 14 million books along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. It also has a programme for content acquisitions. The British Library adds some three million items every year occupying 9.6 kilometres of new shelf space. The library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. . It is located in St Pancras, London, has a document storage centre and reading room near Boston Spa, in West Yorkshire and the Public Lending Rights Service which was established by the PLR Act 1979 in order to compensate UK based rights-holders (mainly authors and illustrators) who have had their publications loaned by public libraries in Stockton on Tees

9 February 2017
Research Sector
Local Alliances:
Camden Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

The British Library as a lead cultural institute can work to improve access to all of its services for people with dementia and their carers, from access to our public space to the use of specific services offered in our Reading Rooms and Reference Services.  We can promote actions that we are taking to raise awareness with our wide range of partners including those in the Knowledge Quarter.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

As a cultural institute there is an inconsistent level of knowledge and awareness across our staff in understanding the needs of people with dementia that we serve in order to provide the best customer experience but also in supporting colleagues who may have family members who have dementia and how we can support them.

Access to our public offering may be seen as daunting so barriers will be reviewed to give greater access to our public spaces.

Member website


2. Actions

  • Review signage in public spaces

    As part of our review of signage in public spaces consider the best practice guidance on signage for people with dementia and build feasible changes on areas to improve on a gradual basis.

  • Provide Dementia friendly tours at our London location.

    Seek advice from Age UK Camden on the shaping and offering specific tours at least once a year for people with dementia and their carers.

    Ensure our staff are trained to deliver the tours and that the correct support mechanisms are in place for participants and their carers.

     During 17/18

  • Raising Awareness of people with dementia and those living with dementia across the workforce

    Arrange 2 x 45 minute Dementia Friends information sessions to increase awareness across the British Library.