Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bredbury-based charity wins HLF grant

Bredbury-based charity wins HLF grant for historic braille collection. Click on the picture for the full story.

The National Library for the Blind (NLB) has been based in Stockport since 1978. I downloaded the following extract from the historof the NLB from a BBC site.

After a period of relative prosperity, the Library again hit financial problems in the early to mid-1970s as spiralling inflation overtook a fairly static income. Considerable cost savings could be made by combining the London and Manchester operations. It would obviously be economical to move out of high-cost Westminster and to concentrate the whole organisation in lower-cost Manchester. But the Northern Branch building was far too small to house the whole Library and it would not be possible to enlarge or extend it adequately.

It was finally decided that the two service points should be amalgamated but in another building in the Greater Manchester area. The possibilities of erecting a new purpose-built Library were considered but, owing to high building costs and to current difficulties in controlling them during an inevitably lengthy construction period, it was decided that a modern building suitable for conversion should first be sought.

A thorough search for suitable buildings was made across Greater Manchester during 1975 and 1976. The Library's essential needs were for warehouse space suitable for conversion into a book-stack providing 20,000 metres of easily accessible shelving and a large circulation and dispatch department, with offices immediately adjoining, all preferably on one floor. A suitable building was found at Bredbury in Stockport. This was approximately ten years old when found and had been the regional headquarters of a conglomerate firm which no longer required it.

The staff and resources of the Northern Branch moved in during January, 1978 and Head Office during the following February and March. The move freed up resources, reduced costs and increased efficiency as all the Library's book stock was now shelved under one roof.

Membership of NLB continues to be free. The Library's lending stock now comprises around 46,000 titles in Braille, Braille music, Moon-type and Large Print formats. Typically 170,000 volumes are issued in a year, posted out across the UK and overseas. NLB remains a charity reliant on the generosity of its supporters - it receives no direct government funding.