Awards 2006: British Library – Public & Voluntary sector annual report

aa awards 2006

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Many members of the public probably have only the vaguest idea about the
breadth and diversity of the collections the British Library holds, and probably
even less of a grasp on the role that the library plays in the modern world.

And yet, the British Library is one of those institutions that has an
inexplicable hold on the national psyche.

It has long been the kind of institution that draws vague accolades such as,
‘centre of excellence’ or ‘part of the nation’s heritage’ or ‘national

In fact, the British Library is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to
adopting cutting-edge technology to put its resources online, digitise its
archive and make great works such as the Lindisfarne Gospels accessible using
high-quality scans of the pages with touch-screen technology.

For the second year running, the British Library has won the award for the
Annual Report and Accounts for the Public and Voluntary Sector.

The British Library’s annual report and accounts for 2005/06 lifts the lid on
its recent activities. Entitled ‘Connecting’, the report succeeds in showing how
the library is making its collections and expertise accessible to new audiences
and demonstrates how electronic information has transformed its work.

The annual report explores the library’s strategic plan for the next three
years. It illustrates the organisation’s performance in terms of key performance
indicators, using graphics, pull-outs and quotes to remind the reader of the
library’s focus on electronic information.

In fact, this year the whole report is online. An extended video question and
answer session with CEO Lynne Brindley is featured, and pages of the report are
hyperlinked to relevant pages on the library’s main website.

The British Library’s main stakeholder is the taxpaying public, and the
accounts themselves are supplemented with sections on grants and donations,
governance and a clear explanation of remuneration plus the roles and
responsibilities of the senior team.

The report genuinely goes a long way to explaining and exploring the huge
wealth of resources within the British Library and it does so in a way that
captures on paper the interactive qualities of internet research.

The judges said: ‘This report was excellent, engaging and provided comfort
and reassurance as to what the management was up to. The whole document was very
easy to understand in its presentation of the key facts.’


The British Library’s annual report emphasises the usefulness of the library.
The front cover of the report declares ‘Connecting’ and the introductory pages
explain the library’s‘ services to the public, web users to knowledge, ideas to
business plans, communities to their past, research to development, students to
scholarship, talent to inspiration’.

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