Free Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions: 2019

A view of the King's Library

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

Unless otherwise stated, our Discovery and 1-2-1 sessions are aimed at Registered Readers and usually held within our Reading Rooms, which are only accessible with a valid Reader Pass. If you wish to attend you should register with us for a Reader Pass.

Note also that 1-2-1 sessions are offered subject to staff availability.

Discovery sessions

We offer a range of engaging and informative Discovery sessions so you’re sure to find something that matches your interest. They typically last one hour each and we can accommodate up to 12 people per session.

Humanities electronic resources: how to find and access them

30 October (14.30 - 15.30); 27 November (14.30 - 15.30); 18 December (15.00 - 16.00)

The Library provides access to a huge range of electronic resources. This session is for you if:

  • you are keen to improve your digital and information search skills and techniques
  • you wish to expand your knowledge of electronic articles, journals, theses, books, databases etc. 

The session will clarify which eresources are:

  • only accessible online from the Reading Room PCs
  • available to British Library Reader Pass holders on a persoanl device
  • freely available to everybody everywhere.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Humanities Reference Desk.

News-related electronic resources

31 October (14.00 - 15.00); 11 December (14.00 - 15.00)

This session will cover the range of news related electronic resources available at the Library and how to access this material. The session will:

  • introduce you to newspaper electronic resources and importance of newspaper e-resources for contemporary research
  • highlight the various ways to access BL newspaper e-resources
  • demonstrate key newspaper e-resources
  • showcase the variety of newspaper databases including facsimile and text only e-resources, and various news related bibliographies and indexes available at the Library.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Newsroom Reference Desk.

Getting started with Rare Books at the British Library (19th century)

6 November (14.00 - 15.30) 

This introductory session is aimed at Readers who are new to accessing the Library's collection of 19th century western printed books. During the session we will:

  • explain about the resources and services that are available in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room
  • discuss the main online and printed catalogues for identifying 19th century printed books held at the Library
  • provide a demonstration of how to search some of these catalogues and order books
  • outline some of the main electronic databases and reference sources that can help with researching 19th century books and ephemera.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Rare Books and Music Reference Desk.

Introduction to family history sources in Asian & African Studies

13 November (12.00 - 13.30); 11 December (12.00 - 13.30)

If you are trying to trace details of the births/baptisms, marriages and/or burials of Europeans who were born, married or died in South Asia (= including Burma, but excluding Sri Lanka) before independence in 1947/48, then this session should be of interest. Previous knowledge of the topic is neither expected nor required. The session includes a brief overview of the historical background together with practical advice in how to access the genealogical data held in the collection. Participants do not have to be registered Readers.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Asian & African Studies Reference Desk.

Beyond baptisms, marriages and burials: additional family history sources in Asian & African Studies

13 November (14.30 - 16.30); 11 December (14.30 - 16.30) 

This session provides information about the wealth of printed, online and visual material available to family history researchers in forms such as wills, photographs, biographical compilations, newspapers and directories. It is useful, but not necessary, to have attended the introductory family history session. Military ancestry is not covered, being the subject of a separate session.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Asian & African Studies Reference Desk.

Introduction to early newspapers: from the early 17th century to the mid-19th century

14 November (14.00 - 15.00)

This workshop will cover:

  • the development of newspapers from the early 17th century to the mid-19th century
  • the origins of the national and regional press in the UK
  • early newspaper collections at the Library
  • how to how to search for early newspaper in our catalogue - Explore the British Library
  • digitised early newspapers.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Newsroom Reference Desk.

Introduction to ‘Explore the British Library’, the Library’s main catalogue and the Humanities Reading Room

15 November (14.30 - 15.30); 4 December (15.30 - 16.30)

This session provides a general introduction to the Library’s main catalogue and explains how Readers can get the most from our printed and e-resources. The session will cover:

  • the different search scopes: ‘Main catalogue’, ‘Our Website’, ‘Explore Further’
  • how to log in/change your password
  • how to search, refine your searches and save your searches
  • how to order, reserve, copy scan and print collection items.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Humanities Reference Desk.

Introduction to the Newsroom

28 November (14.00 - 15.00)

This session will introduce the Newsroom and the new collections as well as provide basic guidance for researchers using the reading room. During the session we will:

  • provide an overview of the scope and history of our new collections
  • explain what digital news sources are available
  • explain how to search for and order newspapers
  • provide information on resources and services in the reading room.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Newsroom Reference Desk.

1-2-1-sessions

Would you like to register for a free 30 minute one-to-one consultation session with one of our Reference Enquiry specialists? We can show you how to get the most from our catalogues and resources and can use our expertise to direct you towards useful and hard to find material based on your research interests.

To find out more or to book a session, please contact the appropriate team.

To book a place, please provide us with the following information:

  • your general or specific area of research interest
  • the level (personal interest, undergraduate, postgraduate, academic) of research you are undertaking and stage (planning, beginning, finishing) you have reached.

Note that these 1-2-1 sessions are for registered readers only.

Please also note that these sessions are to guide you in your research so we cannot answer very specific research queries or produce comprehensive bibliographies.

Humanities electronic resources: how to find and access them

30 October (14.30 - 15.30); 27 November (14.30 - 15.30); 18 December (15.00 - 16.00)

This session provides a general introduction to the Library’s main catalogue and explains how Readers can get the most from our printed and e-resources. The session will cover:

  • the different search scopes: ‘Main catalogue’, ‘Our Website’, ‘Explore Further’
  • how to log in/change your password
  • how to search, refine your searches and save your searches
  • how to order, reserve, copy scan and print collection items.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Humanities Reference Desk.

Humanities electronic resources: how to find and access them

30 October (14.30 - 15.30); 27 November (14.30 - 15.30); 18 December (15.00 - 16.00)

This session provides a general introduction to the Library’s main catalogue and explains how Readers can get the most from our printed and e-resources. The session will cover:

  • the different search scopes: ‘Main catalogue’, ‘Our Website’, ‘Explore Further’
  • how to log in/change your password
  • how to search, refine your searches and save your searches
  • how to order, reserve, copy scan and print collection items.

To find out more or to book a place, please email us at ReferenceServicesTraining@bl.uk or speak to a member of staff at the Humanities Reference Desk.

Collection guides

The King's Library

The collection of George III includes thousands of books and pamphlets

Scandinavian printed collections

One of the richest collections of books from the Scandinavian countries

Garrick Collection of English Plays

David Garrick's collection of 16th and 17th-century printed plays

French printed collections

Incunabula, books, journals, maps and music

French Revolutionary Tracts

50,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals printed in France between the 1780s and 1840s

Modern Greek printed collections

One of the world's finest collections of Greek and Cyprus imprints

Portuguese printed collections

Contemporary and antiquarian material, including 225 books published in Portugal before 1601

Italian printed collections

Our Italian collections cover all periods and a wide variety of subjects

Thomason Tracts

A key source for the English Civil War in the mid-17th century

Burney collection

Largest single collection of 17th and 18th-century English newspapers available

Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin collection of books

Russian avant-garde collections

An extensive collection of avant-garde books of the early 20th century

Spanish printed collections

Includes 16,600 Spanish books published before 1801

Digitised printed books (18th-19th century)

Over 60,000 out-of-copyright digitised books from the 18th and 19th century available for viewing, search, download and digital research.

Dutch printed collections

Publications covering a wide range of subjects and periods from the Dutch-speaking territories