Plans for new BFI national library go ahead

BFI National Library February 2012
I am pleased to start this bulletin with the exciting news that we have been given the go-ahead for our plans to modernise the BFI National Library.In the first phase we will relocate the service from Stephen Street to a new purpose-built space at BFI Southbank, we will increase digitisation and, from 1 April 2012, access will be free of charge. Following survey feedback from many of our users the new Library will also offer a Saturday service and regular longer weekday opening hours.This significant refurbishment will make the Library more accessible, attract new users, and integrate its considerable resources into our public and cultural programmes.

The project will be carried out over two to three months starting in early March. The new Library will be accessed from June 2012 with a formal launch in September 2012.

The final plans were noted by the BFI Board of Governors last week after months of intensive investigation into the design, costings, feasibility and business case including a tender process for architects and contractors.

Creative vision

The Library will be relocated to the former Gallery space at BFI Southbank enabling us, for the first time, to develop a single, coherent creative vision across the venue and to bring together the whole BFI offer in one place – from the Mediatheque and programming, to Education and Collections.

The relatively short build and relocation timeframe offers the BFI some great opportunities as well as a big challenge. Principally, it enables us to take full advantage of the huge benefits of opening the Library in time for the busy 2012 summer with the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympics creating an unprecedented focus on the capital. The South Bank will be at the centre of cultural activities and the Library can be launched right into the heart of our own contribution to the Olympiad.

Progress reports

For more information on the project and regular updates, including questions on membership refunds, changes to service hours, etc, please visit our website where we will also add news as the refurbishment progresses. For frequently asked questions about the proposed Library changes, click here.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI

Iron lady leads BFI membership campaign

In light of Margaret Thatcher’s well-known antipathy to culture and lack of interest in cinema, it’s curious that the Iron Lady figures prominently in the BFI’s membership campaign. One wonders which demographic is being targeted here …

BFI poster girl

New BFI member governor

This item appeared in the Guardian Diary yesterday:


A controversial election. Members disgruntled. Plenty of plot-lines at the BFI                       

Hugh Muir, Wednesday 15 February 2012 22.50 GMT

• Exciting times at the British Film Institute. Today the BFI unveiled a new addition to the board of governors, the acclaimed film-maker Peter Kosminsky. He’s a top man. So that’s all fine and dandy. Except it may not be. For the election for a new person to help represent the membership was run under rules themselves controversial. They said that those contesting the election had to come from outside London, the better to represent the regions, and that the winner should obtain 10% of the vote. This miffed quite a few in London who might like to have stood, and they are even more scratchy now because Kosminsky, though victorious, only gained 9.25% of the vote. High ups on the board, led by chairman Greg Dyke, have been trying to work it all out since the polls closed in December. Kosminsky’s the man, is the approach. Seems that in the event of no candidate reaching the 10% threshold, the board is empowered to make a decision, and there was no mention of his electoral deficiency in today’s press release. But there is grumbling. It’s all a bit tinker tailor don’t you think?