Due to essential engineering works the following Reading Rooms will be closed on Saturday 20 October and Saturday 17 November:

  • Business & IP Centre – Level 1
  • Newsroom – Level 2
  • Asian and African Studies - Level 3

About Explore the British Library

With Explore the British Library you can search:

  • Our main catalogue for millions of records for books, journals, newspapers, printed maps, scores, electronic resources, sound archive items etc. in the Library's collections. Some content is legal deposit or subscribed and only available to Readers. Also included are thousands of records for open access items freely available online.  
    Also included are thousands of records for “open access” items that are free online. - See more at:
    Also included are thousands of records for “open access” items that are free online. - See more at:
  • Our Website for thousands of records for Library web pages.
  • Explore Further for millions of articles. Some articles are freely available online others are subscribed and only available to Readers. Our Help has more information on how to view Explore Further content.

More catalogues

Whilst Explore the British Library gives access to the majority of the Library's collection, it does not yet include records from all the Library's catalogues. Notable exceptions are:

Explore Archives and Manuscripts

Use the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue to search for personal, family and estate papers, manuscripts and India Office Records.

Register of Preservation Surrogates

Use this catalogue to find facsimile and microfilm copies of our collections.

View all online catalogues

News & notices

Reading Room and Restaurant closures on 20/21 October and 17/18 November 2018

09 October 2018

Please check the availability of the material online before visiting the Library.

Collection items temporarily unavailable

05 March 2018

There is some disruption to the availability of items in our collection

Booksellers Association

Books can be purchased or ordered from members of The Booksellers Association who can be found on the BA website. The database includes all the major chains and local independents and can be searched by bookshop name, town, county and postcode. The display will show full bookshop details including Google map locations and Street View and where the bookshop has a website, you can click straight through.