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Exciting things are happening at the British Library this summer

By Time Out in association with The British Library

The British Library is an amazing place. Inside you’ll find nearly 14 million books on 625km of shelves, including first editions of everything from ‘The Canterbury Tales’ to ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. It’s the second biggest library in the world and an invaluable research centre for students and academics from all over the world. But did you know it also has a major programme of cultural events?

Even if you haven’t set foot in a library since school, you’ll find something fascinating happening at the British Library this summer. As well as two major exhibitions, there’s a diverse and diverting series of talks, workshops and performances to get stoked about.

Alongside centenary exhibition ‘Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths’, you can hear stories of the revolution’s women, how contemporary Russians look back on the events of 1917 and how the revolution changed the world. New exhibition ‘Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty’ also brings fascinating events, including a look at the life of Alan Turing, a history of queer London and a session on LGBT musicians and their influence.

You can expand your geographical horizons as the British Library hosts series looking to Africa, Europe, South Asia and North America. Discover hip hop poetry, storytelling and a food market. Spend an afternoon with a Nobel Prize winner. During Banned Books Week, hear the stories of Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ and JG Ballard’s ‘Crash’. Catch sessions with Michael Palin and Vivienne Westwood, or talks covering everything from the swinging ’60s to trees, architecture and Jane Austen.

That’s just a small slice of what’s happening this summer: a programme that puts the British Library up there with London’s biggest cultural institutions. 

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