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BFI Southbank launches one of biggest film libraries in world

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill, BFI Chair Greg Dyke and Mayor Boris Johnson attending the opening of the Reuben library at BFI Southbank.

London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday opened the BFI Southbank’s new Reuben Library, bringing one of the world’s largest collections of printed material on film in the world to London.

The BFI said in a statement: “At a time of austerity during which many libraries have sadly been forced to close, the success of the library proves it is a vital resource and valuable addition to the BFI Southbank. It joins the venue’s 4 cinemas, Mediatheque and Mezzanine Gallery Space, reflecting the BFI’s commitment to putting its collection and knowledge at the heart of its offer.”

Supported by principal funders The Reuben Foundation, the new library at the BFI’s Thames base provides one of the biggest film collections available.

The library had a three month trial period between June to August 2012 which saw visitors to the BFI increase by 200 per cent.

The BFI Reuben Library is free to access and has longer regular opening hours including a new Saturday service, providing for casual visitors to academic researchers.

With 30 per cent more books and journals on open access display than in the previous reading room, the library provides all of the BFI’s contemporary book stock and current journals as well as collections on filmmakers and film theory.

BFI Chair Greg Dyke said: “The BFI looks after the world’s greatest collections of film and television material and we opened this new library at BFI Southbank to inspire more people about the future of film.

“It is a vital hub and resource for everybody from filmmakers, academic researchers, students and the industry itself, or anyone with an interest in film.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This is a tremendous initiative, providing an exciting resource for Londoners that will also be a huge attraction to film fans, students and curious tourists from far and wide.

“I thank The Reuben Foundation for its support with this fantastic example of philanthropy in culture. London has provided an iconic backdrop for so many famous films, be it Harry Potter or James Bond and it’s only right that we have such a fitting tribute to our great film heritage.”

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