HC Deb 09 November 1999 vol 337 c464W
Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Chairman of the Information Committee what arrangements have been made between the Library and the British Museum for the keeping of those parts of the Library's older book stock which are of antiquarian interest but which are seldom needed by hon. Members. [97838]

Mr. Allan

The Library has a substantial number of books which were acquired when it was re-stocked after the fire of 1834. These volumes, often in fine bindings, are not often used by hon. Members but are of potential interest to scholars. I have been informed that the Librarian has signed an agreement with the Director of the British Museum which will mean that these books will be transferred on a long term loan to the care of the Museum, where they will be housed in the King's Library. This room was vacated when the British Library moved to its new St. Pancras building. The loan will mean that the books will be on display in a fine setting and that the Museum will be able to provide access by scholars, both its own staff and others. If any volumes are needed by hon. Members, the Library will be able to retrieve them, but it will not be responsible for the continuing care of the books and will gain the use of valuable storage space. The books will be transferred when the refurbishment of the King's Library is complete, which is expected to be in 2003.