The British Library has a world-famous collection of printed and manuscript music, music recordings, concert programmes and books and periodicals on music.

Collection guides

  • John Taverner, Mass 'The western wynde'Add. 17803, ff. 23v-24r

    Music manuscripts and archives

    We hold a wonderful collection of manuscripts dating from the middle ages to the present day
  • Afton Water part 04

    Printed music

    Material published in every European country, from the beginnings of music printing to the present day
  • pop record

    Music recordings

    Our vast collection includes commercial discs, tapes of radio broadcasts, and rare or unpublished recordings
  • Metropolitan Opera House

    Classical music recordings

    Recordings in the western concert tradition, opera, liturgical music, and the pre-Baroque repertories of Western Europe
  • Nathan King

    Pop music recordings

    We hold one of the most wide-ranging collections of popular music in the world
  • Albert Steward (fiddle) and unidentified accordionist with other Stewart family members.

    World and traditional music collection

    We hold one of the world's largest collections of recordings variously described as traditional, folk or world music
Reading Room  Paul Grundy

Rare Books and Music

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue – Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

We offer a series of workshops to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

Punk fanzine ‘Oh Cardiff... Up Yours!’ donated to the Library

24 May 2016

The Library’s current exhibition Punk 1976-78 is an opportunity not just to look back at the early years of punk, but also to make new connections and to build on the legacy material that the Library holds. The exhibition showcases...

Meet Bert the Turtle

23 May 2016

Did you know today is World Turtle Day? To mark the occasion, we'd like to introduce you to Bert the Turtle. He can be found on the front cover of a vocal score of Bert the Turtle's The Duck and...

Punk before punk: 'You're gonna wake up one morning...'

19 May 2016

The British Library's free punk exhibition is now open in the Entrance Hall. As well as books, journals, punk fanzines, and vinyl records from the collections of the British Library, we have borrowed a number of key items from the...

New collections online - April 2016

05 May 2016

In April six collections were made available through the EAP website and BL Sounds. The variety of subjects, locations, and types of record really highlight the broad range of projects that the Endangered Archives Programme is involved in. EAP190: Digitising...

More blog posts

Shop

Fela Kuti Vinyl Boxset

Fela Kuti Vinyl Boxset curated by Brian Eno

Limited to 2000 pieces. These seven albums were chosen by long-time admirer, Brian Eno.

Music for London (audio CD)

Music for London (audio CD)

A musical tour of London, with an atmospheric piece of music for each major site. The CD provides a fine reminder of a great city.

Music in Exile by Songhoy Blues

Music in Exile by Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues are a familiar proposition: four young men, guitar, drums, bass and vocals, driving rhythms, big hearts and a story to tell.