Patrons’ Programme - Exclusive Events

Exclusive Patrons' Programme events range from curator-led private tours of our exhibitions, to intimate 'show and tells' of handpicked items from the Library’s collection and visits to renowned arts and cultural organisations across London.

All the events listed below are by invitation only. For those wishing to join the Patrons’ Programme, you can do so online here or for more information, please contact Abby Wilson on or 020 7418 7331.

Current Patrons can reserve their place for any of the events below by contacting Abby.

Forthcoming events - Autumn/Winter 2015

West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song - Opening Reception and Private View
Thursday 15th October.
The Library's new major Exhibition, featuring stories from 17 West African nations, will open in our PACCAR Gallery with a private view and reception for specially invited guests.
West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song will tell the story of how people in the region have harnessed the power of political movements, sustain religious belief and fight injustice.
Bringing together beautiful manuscripts, historic film, sound recordings, books, photographs and woven and printed textiles, this exhibition will offer a unique insight into a profound and engaging literary culture with centuries-old written heritage existing alongside ancient oral traditions.
Sound Archive 'Show and tell' and tour
Wednesday 4th November.
Will Prentice from the Library's Sound and Vision team will lead an eveneing introduction into the many facets of our Sound Archive. With items ranging from speech recording to music, wildlife and the environment, the Library is home to the national sound archive. The earliest sounds in the collection are from the 1880s and new items are being added at a rate of around 4,000 every month.
Join us to hear a special selection of these recorded sounds along with a tour of the Sound Studios, located within the Library's Centre for Conservation. There will be an opportunity to learn more about a new project being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund which will ensure that the collection is preserved for future generations.
Alice in Wonderland - Opening Reception and Private View
Thursday 19th November.
Join us for the opening of the winter exhibition in our Entrance Hall gallery with a reception and private view of the day before the exhibition opens to the public.
Celebrating 150 years since the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this exhibition examines the original success of Carroll's publication and its enduring popularity. Examining the many ways that the story has been adapted, reimagined and reillustrated since it's conception, the exhibition also considers why the original story remains at the forefront of our minds.
A range of different editions of the story will be on display, including those by Millicent Sowerby, Arthur Racham, Leonard Weisgard, Mervyn Peake, Ralph Steadman, Salvador Dali and others.
Patron's Christmas Party - Sparkling Reception
Monday 7th December.
Hosted by the Library's Chairman, Baroness Blackstone and Chief Executive, Roly Keating, our annual Christmas Party will once again take place on the first Monday in December. As ever, there will be a chance to hear about the highlights of the year at the Library and an opportunity to meet the Library's leaders and curators during a festive reception to celebrate the Library's achievements of 2015.
Out of hours at the Library - West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song - Early morning private view
Wednesday 20th January.

Marion Wallace, lead curator of our West Africa exhibition will lead a guided tour for Patrons before the Library opens to the public. This is an ideal opportunity to learn moer about the themes of the exhibition, its key items and to gain our lead curator's perspective on the West African collection at the Library. Refreshments will be served as you arrive, followed by the tour.

Please note that all events are subject to change.

Past events:

Illustrated Talk - The Age of Wonder and Beyond
Friday 7 March
Historian Richard Holmes gives a lively account of the extraordinary late 18th century revolution in the physical sciences and traces their surprising metaphysical impact on the Romantic writers of the day, including Keats and Byron.

Show and tell - Shakespeare at the British Library
Tuesday 11 March
In 2016, the Library will be staging an exhibition to mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death. The Library's collection is rich in Shakespeare material, from early printed books, manuscripts, quartos, folios and music featured in his writings. Join our curators for an intimate 'show and tell' of this amazing collection. 

Tour and private view - India Office Records: The Qatar Partnership
Monday 7 April
The British Library has held the records of the East India Company and the India Office since 1982. In partnership with the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar National Library, we are re-cataloguing and digitising historical items from these records relating to the Gulf region, opening up over half a million pages of archives and manuscripts to anyone in the world. Join our tour and see at first hand th3e work involved, followed by a 'show and tell' of some of the fascinating items being digitised. 

Opening reception and private view - Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK
Thursday 1 May
Featuring some of the biggest names in comics, including Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum), the British comics tradition stretches back to the Victorian era and beyond. Our summer exhibition explores the full potential of the medium, demystifying the process of creating comics, while presenting work that is challenging to the status quo.