The British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest libraries. The collections include more than 150 million items, in over 400 languages, to which three million new items are added every year. We house books, magazines, manuscripts, maps, music scores, newspapers, patents, databases, philatelic items, prints and drawings and sound recordings.
The Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities and places obligations on public authorities to disclose information, subject to a range of exemptions. In common with other public bodies, the Library is required to implement the Act fully from January 2005.
Access rights came into force on 1 January 2005, enabling anyone to make a request for information, although the request must be in writing (letter, fax or email). The Act gives applicants two related rights:
- The right to be told whether the information exists
- The right to receive the information within 20 working days, where possible in the manner requested
In some cases, where information is exempt from disclosure, the Library is required to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
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