How to become a Reader

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

Pre-book an appointment to become a Reader

To use our Reading Rooms and consult our collection you’ll need a free Reader Pass. You’ll need to show it to enter the Reading Rooms and to use your Reader online account to order collection items. Although you can’t take these items home with you, you can reserve them to see again.

New to the Library?

  1. Book an appointment in London or Yorkshire.

    Book your New Reader Pass appointment in St Pancras, London
    Book your New Reader Pass appointment in Boston Spa, Yorkshire
  2. Appointments need to be booked through our Box Office. If you haven’t booked a ticket from the Library before you’ll need set up a Box Office account. This is different to your Reader account and you can set one up the first time you book.

  3. Pre-register online to speed up your appointment and pre-order items to see in a Reading Room.
    • You will need an email account to get a Reader Pass. This is because we need to use your email address to set you up on our system
    • If you’ve registered for another online service with the Library, there’s no need to register again. Simply login using your existing details and then pre-register to become a Reader
    • If you’re not sure whether you’ve already registered, check which services need an online account, or contact Customer Services on 01937 546060 or
  4. Come into the Library for your appointment with your identification documents to complete your registration.
    • You will need to bring identification documents with you, find out more about what to bring
    • If you will need any assistance during your appointment, like translation services or access needs, please let us know at least 48 hours in advance by emailing
    • Once you’ve completed your registration on site you will receive a Reader Pass, subject to the Library's Conditions of Use
    • Unable to attend? Please let us know by emailing as they can reallocate your appointment.

Used our Reading Rooms before, or lost, forgotten or need to renew your pass? No problem, find out how to replace it.