Get a Reader Pass

Desks in a British Library reading room.
Desks in a British Library reading room.

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

Published date:

You can register online today

We recommend registering online to start the process of becoming a Reader. You can then set up an online account and order collection items ahead of your first visit. When you order, we will let you know how long it will take.

What then?

Come into the Library to complete your registration, and view your pre-ordered collection items.

Find Reader Registration opening hours here.

Do I need to bring anything?

You will need to bring personal identification and proof of address to register as a Reader.

Your Reader Pass

Once you have completed your registration you will receive a Reader Pass, subject to the Library's Conditions of Use.

With your Reader Pass you will now be able to make full use of our collections and services.

Readers with disabilities who may need additional support should contact us on

T: +44(0)20 7412 7676 or

We usually only issue passes to those over 18 but in some cases we can make an exception.

Lost, forgotten or need to renew your Reader Pass? No problem, find out how to replace it.

Collection guides

Modern British history printed sources

Monographs, periodicals and printed ephemera on modern British history

King’s manuscripts

Medieval and post-medieval manuscripts and topographical material

Medieval and early modern British historical manuscripts

Sources for British history before 1600

Sale catalogues

An essential resource for provenance research

Royal manuscripts

Manuscripts collected by English sovereigns from Edward IV onwards

Medieval and early modern British literary manuscripts

Sources for British literature before 1600


A wide-ranging collection of fine and historic bindings

Music manuscripts and archives

Sources for vocal and instrumental works from the Middle Ages to the present

Artists’ Books & Fine Press

A collection page about our fine press and artists' books holdings.

Western illuminated manuscripts

Approximately 9,000 manuscripts with decoration or illumination

Hebrew collections

Manuscripts copied over 1,000 years ago to the most recent monographs and serials

Early printed books

Highlights of incunabula and books printed before 1600

Manuscript maps

Cartography from the Middle Ages to the present

European philatelic material

Stamps, airmails and related material from the continent

UK national government publications

Publications in print and electronic formats from the Middle Ages to the present day