Short Cuts

Thomas Jones

Last month the British Library launched their Adopt-a-Book scheme, which is, they say, doing very well, with hundreds of people responding. Prices start at £15, for which you get your name on a communal bookplate; for £150 you get a book to yourself; and for donations of £1000 or more you can choose which book you get (comedian, football fan and former English teacher Frank Skinner has apparently made an early bid for Johnson’s Dictionary). You also get a certificate and the chance to attend an annual ‘meet your book’ event. Thousands of books are slowly turning to dust, and current funding for conservation is so low that more books join the endangered list each year than are rescued. The target of the new scheme is to save 250 volumes more than would otherwise have been possible. The infamous £29 million of public money pumped into the Dome would no doubt have come in useful – might not the New Millennium Experience Company hand that princely sum over to the British Library and set up an adoption scheme to raise funds for itself? There could even be a monthly ‘meet your zone’ event to boost attendance figures; although, despite appearances, the body zone may be less susceptible to anthropomorphism than a crumbly old codex. To adopt a book, call the British Library Development Office on 020 7412 7047, fax 020 7412 7168, e-mail or visit their website at

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