Click here to skip to content

Registering for the library video transcript

Here’s a quick guide to registering to use the British Library.

The British Library is a unique place and unlike other public and university libraries. It is one of the world’s largest and a priceless resource, with nearly 170 million items, including many rare, valuable and unique objects.

And it’s not just books… you’ll find all sorts of unexpected treasures from across the world, spanning the last 3,000 years and counting.

You don’t need to register to start exploring our collections – there are thousands of items on our website, or you could visit an exhibition – but to access the full range you’ll need to visit our Reading Rooms in St Pancras, and get a free Reader Pass.

To save time, you can pre-register for a Pass online, and reserve items so they’ll be waiting for you after you’ve completed your registration.

Next, visit our Reader Registration office. There are a few things you’ll need to bring:

Firstly - Two types of ID:

One showing proof of your address, probably a bank statement or utility bill, and one showing your signature, probably your passport or driving license. We need to see originals: photocopies, faxes and print-outs just won’t do and I’m afraid there are no exceptions. They also need to be less than three months old.

Secondly - A list of some items you’d like to view, so we get an idea of why you want to use the Library; you can find these using our catalogues.

And finally, if you can, bring along something that supports your application; a professional membership card, a business or student card or anything else that shows your reason for wanting to use the Library.

Have a short chat with one of our registration staff; you’ll need to explain why you want to use the Library. They may suggest more appropriate libraries for you to use.

Once you have your Pass, you will be able to visit any of our Reading Rooms.

We look forward to welcoming you; soon you’ll be able to start exploring the wonderful resources we have here at the British Library.