Becoming a Reader

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

As our Reading Rooms and public spaces are closed for the time being, we are temporarily unable to register any new Readers.

If you have pre-registered to become a Reader, we won’t be able to complete your registration until our building reopens. We’ll let you know when this changes.

Over the coming weeks we will continue to offer as many online services as we possibly can so that the British Library remains open to everyone, wherever you are in the world. And we will be working hard to maintain this access during these unprecedented times.

To help you navigate our services, we’ve put together this guide to help you explore our collection with or without a Reader Pass.

Extend your online account

We’ve made some changes so Readers can extend their online account once their Reader pass has expired, and keep accessing our available e-resources while our Reading Rooms are closed.

You can now extend your online account for six months by logging into your Online Account using your username and password.

Once you’ve logged in:

  • Select My Services
  • Under British Library Reader, choose Edit Service Settings
  • Select Extend

If you need any assistance please contact our Customer Services team at

Your online account extension will last for six months. When the Library reopens, you’ll need to come in and renew your physical Reader pass to continue to use our Reading Rooms and all available services. We’ll be in touch to let you know when this will be.