Most items in our Newspaper collection are kept in closed stores and have to be ordered to the Reading Rooms. We recommend that you order material in advance of a visit to the Reading Rooms. Note that you do not have to wait until you have a Reader Pass to make Advance Reservations.
We advise new readers to arrive as early as possible to have adequate time to identify, order, and read the newspapers or periodicals you wish to consult. All Readers must arrive before 16.00 and all orders for delivery from storage must be placed before 16.15.
Readers need to identify what they want to see by consulting the Library's catalogue, Explore the British Library, and then completing paper application slips. This means that you must ask for specific newspapers and periodicals of specific dates, which are then fetched for you by staff. The Library's catalogue lists the newspaper titles in our collection and provides full details of our holdings but does not provide access to the content of newspaper articles. To restrict your search to items stored at British Library Newspapers, Colindale, click the arrow at the side of the 'Everything in this catalogue' drop-down and select 'Newspaper Library'.
Readers should be aware that the vast majority of newspapers have no subject index and there are relatively few historic newspapers available online, so it can be difficult to study a large subject or a general theme through newspapers alone if you do not have a good idea of where and when the articles you want were published. In this case, you may use your time more effectively by consulting books, subject bibliographies and other materials on your subject before you consider coming to the Newspapers Reading Room. The Reading Room does have a selection of the few newspaper indexes that have been published and listings are available in the Reading Room. There may also be electronic resources available which will help you to access articles on your subject.
Readers should also be aware that many newspapers in our collection are available on microfilm only. Where we hold both a microfilm copy and a hard copy, it is our policy always to deliver the microfilm copy in order to preserve the fragile original newspapers in our care.
We aim to deliver 90% of items stored onsite within 60 minutes.
We strongly advise readers to order material in advance of a visit to the Reading Rooms. You may order up to four items (four bound volumes or four reels of microfilm) by contacting us:
Newspaper Book Delivery
Phone: +44(0)20 7412 7353
Fax: +44(0)20 7412 7379
If ordering in the Reading Room in person, applications for newspapers must be made before 16:15.
Advance requests must be received a minimum of 48 hours (excluding Sundays) before the date required.
When ordering, you must state:
- Your name
- Your Reader Number, if already registered
- The title and date of the newspaper or journal you wish to request
- The date you require the items
- The shelfmark
- Your telephone, fax or email contact details so that we can advise you if any of the items you have requested are unavailable.
Note that you do not have to wait until you have a Reader Pass to make Advance Reservations.
If ordering on the day of your visit, applications for newspapers must be made before 16:15.
The British Library
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7353
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7379