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Special reader bulletin

The major changes to Library systems advertised in February will now be implemented in April 2013. These changes impact:

  • Registered Readers’ accounts
  • The login to Explore the British Library and Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts
  • Requesting items to Reading Rooms

What’s happening?
Why are these changes taking place now?
When will these changes be implemented?
Finding out more
Help in the Library
Help at home

 What’s happening?

We are in the process of upgrading current Registered Readers’ accounts to bring them into line with the new user registration system being rolled out for all our services. From Monday 22 April Readers will need to upgrade their account to a British Library Online Account in order to log into Explore the British Library, or Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts, to request items to the Reading Rooms.

The main change will be that as a Reader, you will no longer use your Reader number to log in to Explore the British Library or Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts. Instead, you will log in with a Username and Password, both of which you set yourself. Your Reader number will still appear on your Reader Pass, but will now act as your account number only.

We’re also introducing improvements to ordering of books, journals, and other material. We are introducing a new option for “one-click” ordering for same-day items, and a more streamlined process for requesting multiple items, and those you want to request in advance.

 Why are these changes taking place now?

The Library has lots of different services, and lots of people who want to use more than one of them. At the moment, our services use different systems, which means you have to register separately for each service you want to use. The new service enables Library users to register once centrally, and then choose which services they need to use. So it’s a lot easier for you to keep everything up to date, and for us to administer.

In addition, once you have this centralised account, you will be able to easily sign up for other services, for example, the Library’s Box Office, or the Management and Business Studies portal.

And, once the Library’s other services have also been transferred to the new system, users will be able to move seamlessly from one service to another, having logged in only once.

We’re making improvements in the ordering of books, journals and some other material in preparation for the move of the Newspaper Library into St Pancras at the end of the year. We’ve been using the same requesting process since we opened at St Pancras, so we’ve taken the opportunity to make some improvements to the current system. 

 When will these changes be implemented?

The date for the implementation of these two changes is Monday 22 April 2013. You will not be able to upgrade your reader account before this date.

When you use the system for the first time after this date, you will need to upgrade your Reader number to a British Library Online Account in order to log in to Explore the British Library or Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts.  You only need to do this once, and it will only take a few minutes. After that, just enter your Username and Password to log in.

 Finding out more

We know that these are big changes, and so we’ve put together some frequently asked questions.

If you have any questions, please use the feedback link in Explore the British Library.

 Help in the Library

There will be instructions on how to upgrade your account by each Reading Room PC.

If you’re using your own laptop or tablet, check out the online help in Explore the British Library (or Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts). 

If you need further assistance, please ask staff at Reference Enquiries.

We will also be running drop-in training sessions for Readers throughout the day in the Social Sciences Seminar Room, starting on the hour and on the half hour:

Monday – Thursday:  10 am – 1 pm; 2pm – 4.30pm
Friday: 10 am – 1 pm; 2pm – 4.30pm
Saturday: 10 am – 12 noon; 2.00pm – 4.30pm

These sessions will run every day (apart from Sundays) from 22 April – 3 May, and will cover requesting books, journals, and manuscripts,  and upgrading your Reader account. There is no need to book for these sessions.

 Help at home

There will be online help available, via Help in Explore the British Library, but if you need further assistance, please contact Customer Services. Their details are as follows:

The British Library
Customer Services
Boston Spa
LS23 7BB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7676

Service hours:

Monday - Friday 08.30-17.00
Saturday 10.00-16.00

Keep updated via Twitter - @BL_Ref_Services

If you're visiting the Library you can keep up to date with developments by following Reference Services on Twitter (@BL_Ref_Services). We're tweeting updates on how busy the Reading Rooms are, giving top tips on getting the most out of your visit, and which days the Reading Rooms are closed. You can also find out about new services, free workshops, new e-resources, events and exhibitions. If you haven't got a Twitter account, it's free and easy to join – just go to Twitter Signup.