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Free workshops: Training programme 2016

We offer a range of workshops and training events to enable you to carry out effective research and to make best use of the Library:

These workshops are run by reference specialists from our reference teams, with the aim of helping Readers to navigate the British Library’s extensive collections.

NB: These sessions are open to British Library Reader Pass holders only. If you would like to attend but do not have a Reader Pass, please register with us.

There is a heavy demand for these courses. If you are booked on one and later find that you are unable to come, please let us know so that we can offer the place to someone else. Thank you.

Workshop programme

 Beginners guide to using the Library's catalogue - Explore the British Library

If you would like guidance on using our catalogue ‘Explore the British Library’ we can provide a 30-minute free training session covering basics skills on effectively searching the catalogue to find, access and order:

  • Books
  • Periodicals
  • E-Resources
  • My Workspace
  • Other British Library catalogues
  • Open Access

To find out more or to book a session, please email us at:

Business & IP Centre workshops

The Centre runs a full programme of workshops covering business information and intellectual property. Details of the programme and booking information.

 Humanities: Introduction to Art & Design resources

If you are researching the arts and would benefit from an introduction to accessing our resources the Humanities reference team can help.

We provide free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions tailored to your needs covering basics skills on library research focusing on art and design resources available in the Library.

To find out more or to book a session, please email us at:

 Library and information science

If you would like to know more about Library and information studies collections at the BL, an experienced reference specialist can explain and facilitate the services that will enable you to fulfil your research..

For further information and/or to book a free 30-minute one-to-one training session email:

 News Reference Workshops

To attend a news or newspaper related workshop, please speak to staff at the Newsroom Reference Desk or email us at:

Introduction to the Newsroom
This session aims to provide an introduction to the Newsroom and the news collections as well as basic guidance for researchers using the Reading Room. The session will:

  • Provide an overview of the scope and history of our news collections
  • Explain what digital news sources are available
  • Explain how to search for and order newspapers
  • Provide information on resources and services in the Reading Room.

Dates and times: 7 June (10.00)

Introduction to modern newspapers: From the mid-19thcentury to the present
This workshop will be presented by a News curator and will include:

    • The development of newspapers from the mid- 19th century to the present day
    • Modern newspaper collections at the British Library
    • British/Irish newspapers received on Legal Deposit
    • Overseas newspapers
    • Searching for modern newspapers in the British Library catalogue (Explore the British Library).

Date and time: 19 May (14.00)

News-related electronic resources
This session will cover the range of news related electronic resources available at the BL and how to access this material. The session will include:

    • Awareness of newspaper electronic resources and importance of newspaper e-resources for contemporary research
    • Highlighting the various ways to access BL newspaper e-resources
    • Demonstrations of key newspaper e-resources
    • Showcasing the variety of newspaper databases including facsimile and text only e-resources, and various news related bibliographies and indexes available at the BL.

Dates and times: 7 April (14.00)


 Rare Books & Music Research Skills Consultation Sessions

FREE 30 minute one-to-one consultation sessions with a Rare Books or Music Reference Specialist are now available (Mon-Fri), covering basic skills in research with a focus on the Library’s Western Early Printed Collections (ca. 1455-1914) or with the Library’s Music Collections.

Sessions cover navigating the Library’s resource discovery tools; locating items on open access shelves in the Reading Room; identifying key printed reference sources and looking at electronic resources relevant to your area of research.

If interested, email us at and we will send you an Application Form to provide us with details of your research needs and requirements.


 Science One to One Skills Sessions

Do you need guidance on using the catalogue, accessing e-journals and databases or finding references for your science research?

The Science Reference Enquiry team would be happy to help! We run sessions (Mon-Fri) on a variety of subjects and now offer free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions, tailored to Readers' needs, covering basic skills in library research and focussing on science resources at the British Library.

To find out more or to book a session, please email us at:


 Social Sciences workshops

Clinics on Social Sciences Resources
The Social Sciences Reference Team offers free 30-minute one-to-one training sessions tailored to your needs covering basics skills on library research focusing on the social sciences resources available in the Library. To book, please contact Social Sciences.