Donations and legacy income at the British Library increased by 112% last year

04 Aug 2022 News

Newton, the British Library. Credit: Sam Lane

Donations and legacy income at the British Library rose by 112% last year, according to recently filed accounts. 

The charity’s annual report and accounts for the year to March 2022 show that income from donations and legacies was £20.1m in 2021-22 compared with £9.5m the previous year. 

The increase was mostly driven by “generous pledges and donations” from private individuals and trusts. It helped provide “critical funding” in support of the charity’s purposes, the accounts say.

Meanwhile, income from charitable and other trading activities increased by 35% to £10.8m. 

Income, donations and trading activities

The British Library’s overall income for 2021-22 was £141.4m, up from £125.9m on the previous year. Of this, £110m was Grant in Aid, the charity’s main source of funding. 

Charitable and other trading activities brought in £10.8m last year compared with £8m from the year prior. 

Commercial activity had been hugely impacted by the pandemic-induced lockdown but rebounded thanks to the reopening of its sites. Last year, commercial margin stood at £4m, well above the £1.3m recorded in 2020-21. However, it remains below the level seen in 2019-20 (£6.9m). 

Writing in the introduction to the accounts, chair Carol Black and chief executive Roly Keating note that visitor confidence is slowly returning, with attendance now reaching about 90% of the levels seen before Covid-19. 

Redundancies, gender pay gap and diversity

The charity had seven fewer full-time equivalent staff during the year, at 1,558. It spent £107,000 in redundancies costs last year, up from £41,000 in 2020-21. 

The median gender pay gap at the charity was 1.89% in 2021, well below the national median pay gap of 15.4%.

The accounts read: “We continue to make improvements on our gender pay gap, making considerable effort to close this through recruitment, retention and promotional opportunities, as well as mentoring, networking and diversity and inclusion training.” 

They add: “Although we compare well to both national and sector averages we are determined to eliminate our gender pay gap by 2023.” 

In June, the British Library committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation. The accounts reveal that it has now pledged to hire 15% of staff in senior management roles from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds by 2027.

This will help “address the long-standing lack of representation in senior management”, the accounts say.

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