£10m British Library expansion begins

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WORK has started on a new £10m extension to the British Library in Boston Spa.

The extension will be used as a newspaper warehouse and will provide an extra 130km of storage space.

Initial building work is aimed to be completed within a year.

The library branch, originally an ordnance factory, opened in 1961 and currently has more than seven million items from the UK national collection, stored in more than 140,000 bar coded containers.

A spokesman for the British Library said: “This new development will be of great value to Boston Spa’s developing future and we hope that we can collect more documents and newspapers here.

“We are expanding our storage space for a variety of reasons.

“The Colindale storage centre in London is now 70 years old and we need new facilities for both our existing newspaper collection and for growth.

“The newspapers we store at The British Library have to be kept in very strict conditions and out of light, as you can imagine a newspaper yellowing due to the sun.”

The Boston Spa branch of The British Library is designed to be used as a document supply centre - loaning publications to universities and research centres across the UK.

It also has a reading room open to the general public.

The newspaper warehouse, once built, will have no public access and be used purely as storage space with limited jobs created in the area, a spokesman said.

The British Library, which has a core base at St Pancras in London, currently holds more than 150 million items altogether including the Magna Carta and original copies of Shakespeare’s work.

It has an almost complete collection of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland dating back to 1840.

Keir Construction Group, who have offices based in Boston Spa and will be carrying out the building work. told the Wetherby News it was difficult to pinpoint whether the prject would bring new emplyment to the area. A spokesperson for the company said: “It is difficult for us to target exactly how many jobs the project will create as a number of the personnel will simply be transferring from other, now completed projects, in the area.

“However, there will be up to 40 workers on site at the peak of the construction programme, and Kier always tries to use local subcontractors, suppliers and materials wherever practicable.”