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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007, 12:57 GMT
7m funds needed to save library
Photo of printing blocks at St Bride Library in London
Letters written by Charles Dickens are housed at St Bride Library
A major printing library in London faces closure unless millions of pounds are raised for it to be redeveloped.

St Bride Library, in Fleet Street, needs 7m of funding to transform its Victorian building, a spokesman for the St Bride Foundation said.

The aim of the redevelopment is to allow 245,000 people a year to take part in activities at the library.

The library boasts a rare edition of Dr Johnson's Dictionary and letters Charles Dickens wrote to his printer.

'Historic collection'

Among its nearly 200 collections are thousands of valentines, greetings cards, menus and posters, more than 1,100 printed ballads from the 19th century and the largest collection of British type specimens in existence.

Mike Jenkins, of the St Bride Foundation which runs the charity, said: "The future of this remarkable and unique national library depends upon the redevelopment project.

"Without it, the library faces being sold, split up and possibly even taken out of the UK.

"We welcome the financial support now of anyone with an interest in saving this historic collection."

To date the foundation has received pledges of 410,000, including 65,000 from the Old Possum Practical Trust, the TS Eliot foundation set up after the poet's death.

St Bride Library opened in 1895 as both a technical library and printing school, and later became the London College of Communication.

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