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Major changes for Readers using the Boston Spa Reading Room

We have introduced major changes to the way Readers gain access to our Boston Spa Reading Room and use our collections.

We have brought Reader Registration and security measures at Boston Spa into line with those in place in the main Reading Rooms at St Pancras in London. Ordering has also undergone major changes.

The changes will allow you to access a much wider range of our collections.

The major changes are:

  • You need a full British Library Reader Pass (a photo-pass) to gain access to the Reading Room and order collection items.
  • Online ordering via our catalogue, Explore the British Library, has replaced manual ordering. You use the catalogue to request the collection items that you wish to view in the Reading Room.
  • Collection items you wish to view should be requested online 48 hours in advance.

You cannot enter the Reading Room without a Reader Pass; and you can no longer place a manual order for collection items.

Why did we make these changes?

These changes will allow you access to a much wider range of our collections. In November you will be able to access a wide range of print newspapers, collected by the Library through legal deposit, in the Boston Spa Reading Room.

Once the newspaper material has become available at Boston Spa, access to some other legal deposit collections will be explored on a pilot basis.

The British Library's legal deposit collection contains many items that are unique, so increased levels of security and collection care were essential - hence the need for full Reader Registration.

Because these and other collections are held in environmentally controlled, fully automated storage systems, the transition to a fully automated process of ordering and retrieval was necessary.

What you should do next

  • We strongly recommend that you pre-register for a full British Library Reader Pass, if you do not already have one. You can pre-register online: Click the 'Pre-Register for a Reader Pass' button at the foot of the 'Registering for a Reader Pass at Boston Spa' web page.
    You can pre-register online now and complete your registration by coming to the Boston Spa Reception.
    Please note: To complete your registration you will need to bring with you an original form of identification (e.g. passport, driving licence) and a current proof of address (e.g. a utility bill). A full list of acceptable forms of ID is available on our website.
    Note also: We issue a pass subject to your need to see specific items in our collection. Before you register, you should search our catalogue, Explore the British Library, to confirm we have the material you require; and bring these details with you when you register.
  • Having pre-registered online, you should use our catalogue, Explore the British Library to request in advance the print items you wish to view when you visit.
    There is online help during the order process and help is available on our website. Reader Service Enquiries can help you order, or order on your behalf, until you are familiar with online ordering.

Note : The benefit of pre-registering online is that you can request items in advance before you have completed the registration process. If you do not want to pre-register online you can register in person at the Boston Spa Reading Room. However, if you choose to register in person you will not be able to request items to the reading room for delivery on that day.

Contact details

Customer-Services@bl.uk +44 (0)1937 546060

Reader-Services-Enquiries@bl.uk +44 (0)1937 546363 / 0207 412 7676

Reader Services,

Boston Spa Reading Room

10 September 2014