31 January 2007

Nahanni and the British Library

In Canada we have National Parks that few will ever visit. But there is wide support for protecting them. The Nahanni National Park Reserve is one. They are part of Canada's heritage and define our national identity.

In the UK the British Library plays a similar part in helping defining the national identity, so it's sad to read reports of politicians so careless of the heritage entrusted to them that they are prepared to put a price on, and in some instances close, access to documentary heritage. This article from The Independent documents the proposals.

I have used the British Library once, quite a few years ago, looking for genealogical information on an East India Company soldier. It's an inspiring facility next to St Pancras Station. The Newspaper Library, which I've also used, is nondescript in its North London obscurity, but the contents include local newspapers which are the paper of record for ordinary folks. Pity the politicians don't seem to care about ordinary folks and their history, a sure sign they've been in power for too long.