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British Library

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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To ask the Minister for the Arts what plans he has for further construction of the new British library building at St. Pancras when building work on the present stage is completed in 1993.

I have recently authorised a feasibility study to examine options for the concluding stage of the British Library project, so that a start can be made before the work currently authorised is completed in 1993.The feasibility study will be carried out by the Property Services Agency, in conjunction with the British Library and the architects who designed the first phase of the building. Their findings and proposals will be reported to me by mid-1988.The object of the study is to draw up a plan for completing the project in a way which meets the key requirements of the library at the minimum additional cost. Those requirements are to concentrate most of the British Library's London-based collections at one location in a controlled pollution-free environment, with greatly improved facilities for readers and staff. Subject to the outcome of the study, the new building will enable the British Library to vacate most of the 19 sites around London where its stock is currently located, and to unite its major services within a single purpose-built building.

I shall announce further decisions when the feasibility study has been completed.