For 600 years, the Library has functioned as a powerhouse of the knowledge and expertise flowing out of the University. The Library is an information hub at the heart of the academic community of Cambridge, a key facilitator of world-leading research and teaching. But it is also a global institution – a curator of knowledge and culture from around the world.
Much of this success is attributable to philanthropy. In the past few years the Digital Library has been developed into a resource of unparalleled quality, thanks to foundational support from the Polonsky Foundation and Hauser-Raspe Foundation. Meanwhile the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation has enabled us to showcase our treasures in a welcoming new exhibition space, and with innovative interactive tools. The Second Joseph Aaron Littman Foundation has enabled us to acquire new manuscripts of great significance, and the Parasol Foundation and the Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin Trust are also valued supporters.
We have ambitious plans to develop the Library, and all it provides, in the coming years, which we rely on visionary philanthropic support to realise.
The internet has sparked a transformation comparable to that caused by the invention of the printing press. Libraries around the world, particularly major research and copyright libraries like the University Library, need to adapt to this continually evolving information age. In the coming years the Library will transform its physical spaces and information channels to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of Cambridge’s brilliant minds.
Unique And Distinctive Collections
The Library will continue to add manuscripts and artefacts of great historical significance to its Special Collections. This is both in recognition of the fact that these are foundations of our global cultural heritage which need to be conserved and protected, and to support research and teaching across the Humanities disciplines.
Through its Digital Library the Library has become a leader in the digitisation of cultural artefacts, and therefore heritage. Many of our precious collections and resources have been opened up to anyone in the world with an internet connection. But digital resources are not immune to decay and obsolescence, and so we must actively preserve and safeguard them for generations to come.
Outreach and Access
Finally, we must ensure that access to its resources is widely available. Dynamic exhibition and teaching and learning spaces will allow us to welcome as wide an audience as possible into the heart of the Library, to engage with our collections and our experts, and to explore for themselves the importance and relevance of research.