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Self-service copying and photography

The Library’s procedures for copying its collections have been developed both in accordance with relevant UK legislation and to help preserve its collection by reducing the risk of damage. You can use our self- service copy facilities to copy collection items subject to the Library’s preservation policy, copyright and data protection laws.

You may use your own device to photograph some categories of material in the Reading Rooms. See our video for further details.

Self-service copying 

Before you begin copying, please take material to the Copy Counter Desk, or Reference Enquiry Desk where there is no Copy Counter Desk, for staff to carry out a preservation and copyright check.

If the material is unsuitable for self-service copying, staff will advise on alternative forms of copying. For example, for older items, you may be asked to make reproductions from existing microfilm or microfiche copies, rather than from the original volumes themselves.

Availability of self-service copying facilities

Self-service photocopiers, digital overhead scanners and digital microfilm scanner for copying from printed material, microfiche and microfilm, are available in most St Pancras Reading Rooms:

Digital Microfilm Scanners

  • Asian & African Studies
  • Humanities - Floor 2
  • Newsroom
  • Maps
  • Rare Books & Music


  • Asian & African Studies
  • Business & IP Centre
  • Humanities - floor   1
  • Rare Books & Music
  • Science - floors 2 & 3
  • Social Sciences

Digital Overhead Book Scanners

  • Asian & African Studies
  • Business & IP Centre
  • Humanities -  floor 1
  • Newsroom
  • Rare Books & Music
  • Science - floors 2 & 3
  • Social Sciences

Photocopiers: All the current copiers print A4 black and white copies only. For preservation reasons we do not allow double-page copying.

Digital overhead book scanners: All of our book scanners produce double-page scans. The images are formatted into PDF files and saved to a memory stick. You are permitted to use your own memory stick or portable storage device. Alternatively, you can purchase memory sticks at the Copy Counter Desks.

Digital microfilm scanners: Our digital microfilm scanners can accommodate a variety of microfilm, microfiche and aperture cards. You can scan to print in either black-and-white or colour.

Copy Counter Desks

Staff are available at Copy Counter Desks as follows:

Humanities – floor 1, Rare Books & Music, Newsroom, Science – floor 2

  • Monday 10.00-19.30
  • Tuesday to Thursday 09.30-19.30
  • Friday and Saturday 09.30-16.30

Asian & African Studies

  • Monday 10.00-16.30
  • Tuesday to Saturday 09.30-16.30

If you have any accessibility issues with the self-service facilities, please contact the Disability Support Officer.


Payment is made to an account, which requires your British Library Online Account username and password for access.. You can credit your account at:

  • A Copy Counter Desk, at the times above.
    The Copy Counter Desks allow transactions by cash, cheque, and credit/debit card.
  • The kiosks in in Business & IP Centre, Humanities - floor 1 and Science - floor 2.
    The kiosks allow transactions by cash (coins and banknotes).

 Self-service photography

You may use compact cameras, tablets and mobile phones to photograph some categories of material in our Reading Rooms.

Photographic copies made may be used for personal reference purposes only and must not be used for a commercial purpose. Copyright, data protection and privacy laws may still apply.

Some material will be excluded from self-service photography, including, but not limited to:

  • Items that have not yet been assessed as appropriate for photography
  • Restricted or special access material
  • Items where their format, size or condition means they are at risk of damage, or further damage
  • Items where there may be data protection, privacy or third party rights issues
  • Computer screens.

Before using the self-service photography facility, please view the video guidelines or read the video transcript, or see the Self-service Photography handout.

More information on setting up items for photography can be found in this collection handling video.

Media files

Media files on this site can be played using Windows Media Player. See our website technical settings page for details.