The British Library is a legal deposit library for the United Kingdom's official publications and has print documentation from governments worldwide. It is a European Documentation Centre and depository library for international organisations such as the United Nations.

Collection guides

Reading Room

Social Sciences Reading Room

You’ll need a Reader Pass to:

  • View our extensive open access collection material
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Use our catalogues to order items from our extensive reference collection

If you need help, please ask our specialists at the enquiry desk.

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

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Case studies

…The range of materials available allows me to examine how ideas have unfolded…

Toby Austin Locke explains how he uses government publications.

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Bodleian Library

Official papers at the Bodleian Library, Oxford

The National Archives

The official archive of the UK government

The National Library of Scotland

The largest collection of official publications in Scotland

The National Library of Wales

Official publications from the UK and the Republic of Ireland


Secrets of the National Archives book

Secrets of The National Archives

The National Archives is one of the most remarkable collections of documents in the world. Richard Taylor's book is based on favourite documents selected by staff at the Archives.


Magna Carta Law Liberty Legacy book

Magna Carta Law Liberty Legacy

Drawing on the rich historical collections of the British Library – including two original copies of Magna Carta from 1215 – the catalogue brings to life the history and contemporary resonance of this globally important document.