Can I copy material in the Reading Rooms?

Reading Room  Paul Grundy
Reading Room Paul Grundy

If you're using our Reading Rooms, there are a range of options available to copy our material

Yes, there are a range of options for copying items in the British Library’s Reading Rooms. You can:

  • take a photograph of the material yourself using a compact camera, tablet or mobile phone. Some categories of material free of charge; see our guidelines on taking photographs of collection items.
  • use the self-service scanners available in most Reading Rooms. The majority of scanners can save images to USB and scan to email. The microfilm readers can scan to print or scan to email. Please talk to staff for further information.
  • have the material you want copied by a member of staff
  • use our Sound and Moving Image Copying Services to make copies of sound and video recordings
  • print from our electronic resources.

All services are subject to the Library’s Preservation policy and copyright and data protection laws. Library staff will be able to advise you what you are allowed to copy and which option would be best for your needs.


You can pay for your copies or scans using your British Library Online Account. To credit your account, please visit:

  • the payment kiosks (Humanities – Floor 1, Science – Floor 2, the Newsroom), or
  • the Copy Counter desks (Humanities – Floor 1 and the Newsroom).