Newspapers

We aim to acquire all newspapers published in the United Kingdom and in the Republic of Ireland, and our collections of newspapers from the British Isles are the finest in the world

About the collection

We hold over 34,000 titles from the UK and overseas, or 60 million individual issues. The newspaper collection includes the ongoing legal deposit collection of UK and Irish newspapers.

The collection was founded on two special collections of early English newspapers: the Thomason Tracts which contains newspapers and news-books from the English Civil War period and the Burney Collection of newspapers 1603-1818, collected by the Revd Doctor Charles Burney (1757-1817).

The collection of British newspapers is fairly comprehensive from the 1840s onwards.

Since 1869 British and Irish newspapers have been received through legal deposit by which publishers are required to send one copy of each issue to the British Library. The collection includes full runs of the main London edition of all the British national daily and Sunday newspapers. Most daily and weekly provincial newspapers are also held including some from the early 18th century onwards.

Newspapers are acquired selectively from overseas, in English and other European languages. This includes an extensive collection of newspapers from Commonwealth countries which were formerly received through colonial copyright deposit.

Currently about 1,400 UK and Irish newspaper titles are received on a daily or weekly basis, and nearly 100 titles from overseas.

The newspapers are held in print form (over 660,000 volumes, boxes or parcels of newspapers), as microfilm copies (630,000 reels), and as digital copies (over 20 million digitised pages).

What is available online?

Digitised newspapers can be viewed online via the British Newspaper Archive, a site developed in partnership with Findmypast, which has newspapers from across the UK, primarily for the 19th century but with a growing number of issues from the first half of the 20th century. Searching is free, but to view the newspapers requires a personal subscription. The BNA can be viewed for free in our Reading Rooms.

We subscribe to a range of electronic resources including major UK national and international newspapers.
 

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

British Library newspapers are also available online through British Newspapers 1600-1950 and other packages, available from Gale Digital Collections for subscribing institutions. These can be viewed for free in our Reading Rooms.

How to guides

Get a Reader Pass

Access over 200 million collection items for free with a Reader Pass. Carry out research in our Reading Rooms and access our online collections.

Researching television and radio news

We have been recording television and radio news programmes broadcast in the UK since May 2010 - only accessible in our Reading Rooms

Researching newspapers

There are online newspaper resources available in the Newsroom, including both UK and international newspapers.

Terms of use for Google Books

This page states the terms and conditions surrounding the British Library’s out of copyright books which have been digitised by Google.

How to request items not in the catalogue

You can use 'Request Other Items' to order items which have no record in Explore the British Library. Also to order most items found in Expore Archives and Manuscripts.

Electronic resources

We collect thousands of electronic journals, books and websites and hundreds of databases. You’ll need to come to the British Library to access the majority of these resources.

Guide to Explore the British Library

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to order/view items

What collection items can I view online?

You can see books, manuscripts, maps, playbills, scores and much more. Researchers can use our collection of electronic resources and databases to help them find material relevant to their research.

Can I take photographs of British Library material myself?

You can now take photos of our collection items yourself in British Library Reading Rooms

Can I copy material in the Reading Rooms?

What you need to know about copying British Library collections in our Reading Rooms

Conditions of Use of British Library Reading Rooms

You need to follow some rules if you want to use our Reading Rooms

Breaches of British Library Reading Room Conditions of Use

These guidelines outline the British Library’s policies and procedures with regard to breaches of its Reading Room Conditions of Use. They are to ensure consistency in the actions taken in response to such breaches and to define the appropriate roles and responsibilities in the process.

How to handle books

See the techniques you should use to keep our books in good shape.

Using white gloves with our collection items

There are several things to bear in mind when deciding whether to wear gloves or not.

How to handle rolled items

See the techniques you should use to keep our books in good shape

Free Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions: 2019

We offer a range of free Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions to help you make the most of your time researching here.

Search for resources in microforms

How to search for resources in microforms

How to handle folded items

Find out how you should hand items like large maps and book inserts.

Find and request Lord Chamberlain's Plays

How to locate items in our largest single manuscript collection

Guide to Explore Archives and Manuscripts

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to browse the collections and how to request items

How to reuse images of unpublished manuscripts

Guide to the copyright of unpublished documents