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Online Zoom Discussion Burning the Books - British Museum

Hosted by the Consul of the Birmingham Spontaneous Activities Group
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Took place 1 month ago
Tue 15 Dec 17:30 - 18:30

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Join Richard Ovenden, director of the world-famous Bodleian Libraries, as he discusses his new publication, Burning the Books, with artist, writer and creator of the Museum's current library of exile installation, Edmund de Waal.

Their conversation will explore the historic destruction of libraries and archives, many of the names of which are written into the walls of the library of exile.

As Ovenden explains, libraries are far more than stores of literature. Through preserving legal documents such as Magna Carta and records of citizenship, they also support the rule of law and the rights of citizens. Today, the knowledge they hold on behalf of society is under attack as never before.

Burning the Books is a history of knowledge under attack and explores everything from what really happened to the Great Library of Alexandria to the destruction of the landing records of the Windrush generation, from Donald Trump's deleted Tweets to the publisher John Murray's burning of Lord Byron's memoirs. It is at once a powerful history of civilisation and a manifesto for the vital importance of physical libraries in an increasingly digital age.

Burning the Books is also a very human story, detailing the heroic lengths people have gone to in order to preserve and rescue knowledge – and ensure its survival.

BSL interpretation provided by Russell Aldersson (RSLI) and Bridget Bree (RSLI)