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Use of power sockets

We are reviewing the use of power sockets in the Entrance Hall and other public areas.

Sockets next to WiFi furniture will still be available, but visitors may no longer connect to any other power socket.

There are several reasons for this decision:

Health and safety concerns

  • There have been many incidents of people trailing cables across walkways, and these are a trip hazard.
  • Many people sit on the floor to access power sockets where there is no adjacent furniture. There is no furniture in these areas because the Library needs to maintain clear spaces: for example, on busy walkways, on staircases, outside office doors, or adjacent to lifts. Sitting in these areas is potentially dangerous.
  • Moving furniture, or sitting next to power sockets, impedes access to disabled toilets and fire equipment.

Damage to sockets

  • Many sockets in the Entrance Hall are designated cleaners’ sockets, and have a different pin configuration to standard plugs. Some users have forced plugs into these sockets, causing damage.


  • Many people use the Library’s power supply, not only to charge laptops, but also MP3 players, mobile phones, even electric toothbrushes, leading to an unsustainable level of use.
  • Please note: you must not use multi-socket extension cables in the Library

Improved battery life of mobile devices means that there should not be the same degree of reliability on an additional power supply. However we will continue to provide power sockets by designated WiFi furniture.

We advise anyone who intends to use the WiFi facilities in the building to ensure that your device is fully charged before visiting. In addition, the Library reserves the right to carry out safety checks on any electrical equipment connected to its power supply.

If you have any questions please email or write to:

The British Library
Service Improvement
96 Euston Road