I have just posted off a copy of the Coleridge Way Companion Guide to the British Library.

Posting the Coleridge Way Companion Guide to the British Library

Posting the Coleridge Way Companion Guide to the British Library

Perhaps it’s quaint, formerly it may have been to weed out seditious literature and now it ensures that the printed word is saved for all time, but every book published must be sent to the British Library to be archived by them.

Since 1662 it has been law for every published book to be sent to the authorities. This system was set up by Sir Thomas Bodley (he of the Bodleian Library in Oxford) and over the years has been extended to enable all the great libraries in the UK to receive a free copy of all new books.

Today the British Library must be sent a copy of any new book within one month of publication and then the national libraries of Scotland and Wales and Oxford, Cambridge and Trinity (Dublin) university libraries may request a copy too. Therefore, any publication should have at least six copies available.

Since 2013, it has also been the law to deposit electronically printed material which includes; websites, blogs, e-journals and CD-ROMs.

So, who reads this stuff? Well, future generations will benefit most with researchers having every scrap of printed material available to them but it also serves as a fall back for authors who have lost their last remaining copies of their own book. If only JR Hartley had known this in the 80s – it would have saved him all that time searching through the Yellow Pages!