The National Library of the United Kingdom. It was established under the provisions of the British Library Act in 1972. The library receives a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. As of 2007 the collection includes over 150 million items.
In 2006, the British Library won a bid (in partnership The University of Manchester and the European Bioinformatics Institute) to manage UK PubMed Central. Launched in January 2007, the initial phase of the project was a mirror to the original PubMed in the U.S., but UK researchers are able to add to the collection by submitting their own research for inclusion.
The library is open to the public, and all visitors are free to visit the library's shop, restaurant, cafes and exhibits. However, the library's resources are geared towards those doing research, rather than browsing or recreational reading. People who wish to do research must fill out an application for a Reader Pass, which allows you to use the library's Reading Rooms. There are numerous Reading Rooms in different categories, including Humanities; Business & IP Centre; Manuscripts, Rare Books & Music; and Social Sciences. Each room has an Information Expert to help users find what they need. Once in a Reading Room, you can search for items on the library catalog. Items located on the library shelves (open access) can be accessed directly by the user. Many items are closed access, either in storage at the library or off-site at another location. These items need to be "ordered" (up to ten items per day are permitted) and collected from the Issue Desk once they are delivered.
The British Library includes a collection of books known as The King's Library, which is the private collection of King George III from 1760 to 1820. It contains around 85,000 items, including a Gutenberg Bible and a first printing of The Canterbury Tales. The collection was previously housed at the British Museum, and was transferred to the British Library in 1973. The tower holding the books is six levels high, and connected by an internal staircase and two elevators. The environment is controlled to keep the temperature at 16 degrees Celcius (61 Fahrenheit) and 50% relative humidity. Deliveries are made from the tower once an hour.
British Library official site