British and Foreign Bible Society
The British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS), now the Bible Society, was founded in 1804 with the aim of supplying Bibles and New Testaments - Scriptures - without note or comment, on a worldwide basis, in a language people could understand and at a price they could afford. BFBS was the pioneer organization to perform and support Bible translations into world languages, both in terms of the actual translation work and through its support for the formation of other national Bible Societies (United Bible Societies, 1946). In its first year there were some 67 languages into which at least one book of the Bible had been translated; now around 200 years later there are over 2000, and translation work continues. Since 1974, BFBS' work has been primarily focused on Europe, the Near East, Africa and Australia. BFBS' Bible translations avoid inclusions of the explanatory notes, what might be source of disputes. When BFBS in 1826 decided to exclude the apocryphal books from Bible translations, it led to divisions in Europe.
Bible Society's Library
Soon after founding BFBS it had been realized that for achieving its goals a collection of standard texts would be essential for reference. Thus, a library was established. The library has grown from its initial 39 to over 39,000 volumes. After 181 years in London, the Society moved to its present headquarters in Swindon, Wiltshire in 1985. Early in the planning of this move it became apparent that the new site would not be the most appropriate for the Society's unique Library and Archives, and an agreement was reached with the Cambridge University Library that the collections would be housed in there and made available to bona fide users.