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The British Library is working hard to ensure that its services and collections are fully accessible to all Readers.

The Disability Support Officer will provide advice and guidance to Readers who need assistance with our Reading Room services.

Issuing a Reader Pass for a helper

Reader Passes are issued to a helper or friend assisting a Reader with disabilities to carry out their research. Helpers or friends should come to either:

  • Reader Registration on the Upper Ground Floor at St Pancras, London
  • Reception at Boston Spa, Yorkshire

to complete a PC-based application form. They will need to bring identification and proof of address.

Getting to the Reading Rooms

At St Pancras, the Reading Rooms are on floors 1, 2 and 3 of the main building. There are signs showing the entrances to the Reading Rooms and access is gained by pushing the doors. If the doors are likely to prove a problem to you, please advise staff at the Information Desk in the Entrance Hall, or contact the Disability Support Officer in advance of your visit.

At Boston Spa the Reading Room is on the ground floor adjacent to the reception area and has full wheelchair access. We have height-adjustable tables, alternative keyboards, and facilities for the visually and hearing impaired.

You may not take bags, outer coats or personal computer holders into the Reader areas. These must be left in the cloakroom or lockers situated on the lower ground floor. The temperature in our Reading Rooms is cool so please wear sufficient indoor clothing for your comfort. If this is likely to be a cause for concern, please contact the Disability Support Officer in advance of your visit. 

You may not take food or drink into the Reading Rooms, unless required for medical reasons; please contact the Disability Support Officer if applicable.

Using the Reading Rooms

The Reading Room Reference Enquiries (for subject enquiries) and the Delivery Enquiries Desks have custom-made lowered sections to enable wheelchair users to access the various services offered. Readers who need help carrying items to and from their desks should tell staff at the Issue Desk.

We have a wide range of Equipment to assists Readers in accessing our collections in our Reading Rooms.

At St Pancras, one carrel (booth) is provided in each Reading Room (except the Business & IP Centre), for Readers with special needs, e.g. for use by a blind or visually impaired Reader who needs assistance from a helper. Carrels are locked and need to be booked for use; please ask Reading Room staff.

As part of our photocopy service we offer discounts for enlarging; A3 copies for the price of an A4 copy. This service is provided as part of our Assisted Copy Service and can take 24 hours. 

If your needs cannot be met by the facilities we provide, contact the Disability Support Officer who will be pleased to help you.

Advance ordering

Readers can order books through our remote Reader Enquiry. Normally this service is limited to four items, but more items can be ordered for Readers with disabilities on request.



Information in our reader leaflets describes the services the Library can provide. Large print copies of leaflets are available from the Disability Support Officer.

Emergency procedures in the Reading Rooms

Readers who consider themselves frail or have difficulty walking are asked to make themselves known to the security staff at the entrance to Reading Rooms on their arrival. At St Pancras, these Readers will be assisted to assemble in the safety stairwells. Security staff will then evacuate readers by Fireman's lift or by Evacuchair.



Disability Support Officer
The British Library
St Pancras
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1937 546060


PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.