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Privacy statement - how we use your information

We use your information to:

  • analyse usage of Library services to provide a more personalised customer experience
  • record transactions, process orders, enquiries and registrations
  • obtain feedback and to help us to improve our services
  • for legal and audit purposes
  • help us to ensure the safety and security of staff and members of the public, and
  • safeguard the Library’s collections

With your consent, we also use your information to provide you with information about our services, products and how to support the Library.

We may disclose personally identifiable information without seeking your prior consent provided that the disclosure would not be in breach of the Data Protection Act, for the purposes of:

  • collection security
  • law enforcement
  • investigating actual or suspected copyright infringement

or when

  • the Library is subject to a legal obligation to disclose the information
  • it is necessary to protect your vital interests
  • we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights

Contractors and service providers engaged by the Library

The library works with private and public sector partners to deliver joint projects or to provide services on our behalf, for example, to process online purchases.  It may be necessary to share your information with our suppliers and partners.  Whenever this happens, strict security measures are applied, and suppliers and partners are bound by strict contractual provisions to ensure that your information is only used on our behalf for the purposes specified in the contract or agreement.

Job applicants, current and former Library employees

See the careers’ pages of our website at for more information about our recruitment process.

When people apply to work at the British Library, we will only use the information they supply to process their application and to monitor recruitment statistics. Where we want to disclose information to a third party, for example, to take up a reference or to carry out a background check for the purpose of pre-employment security vetting, we will not do so without informing them beforehand, unless the disclosure is required by law.

Personal information about unsuccessful candidates will be held for 12 months after the recruitment exercise has been completed. It will then be destroyed as confidential waste or deleted. We retain statistical information to help to inform and improve our recruitment activities; for the purpose of ethnic monitoring and to obtain workplace statistics on, for example, gender, race, disability and age. The information retained is anonymised so that no individuals may be identified from that data.

Once a person has taken up employment with the Library, we will compile a file relating to their employment. The information contained in this will be kept securely and will only be used for purposes directly relevant to that person’s employment. Once their employment with Library has ended, we will retain the file in accordance with our retention schedule and then delete or destroyed as confidential waste.

Chatrooms, forums and user-generated content

Users are reminded that some areas of our website which allow you to submit content are for public viewing and discussion.

Any personal information included in this content is widely accessible.  Specific terms and conditions apply to these sites.


Online payments by credit or debit cards for some goods and services provided by the Library are processed under contract using specialist third party service providers.  When a payment is processed by service provider acting on our behalf, card details are collected over a secure link and protected by industry standard software which encrypts your information.  The British Library does not collect any account details and they are not made available to us.  Our service provider will use the information you provide to process your payment and to refund any monies due to you.  Please refer to the terms and conditions for the relevant service for further details.

Payments processed manually by the Library are dealt with in line with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

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