The Shop is a popular feature of our British Library building at St Pancras, providing visitors to the Library with the opportunity to purchase items such as pencils to use in the Reading Rooms, a USB keyboard that looks and feels like an old-fashioned typewriter, and of course a large variety of books. Additionally, the Shop creates a valued income stream for the Library, with every purchase helping to support the work we do in preserving and providing access to the world’s most comprehensive research collection.
The online shop has been going from strength to strength over the last few years, and underwent a complete revamp towards the end of 2019, enabling us to improve our customer experience, order processing, and accessibility. However, we process and ship all of our online orders from the British Library sites, so when the time came for the Library to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this meant both our physical and online shops had to cease trading.
Whilst working from home, our team have been doing all they can to reach a point where we could safely re-open the online shop, so that we could provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase a range of quirky and quality products, and start generating income for the British Library once again.
With the help of colleagues in our Security, Estates, Post Room, and Technology teams, and of course our own Retail, Publishing and Buying colleagues, we’ve now been able to re-open our online store. We’ve put measures in place to ensure we’re able to work safely, such as limiting the number of staff on site, and only shipping within the UK. This means our orders may take a little longer than usual to get to their destinations, but it’s a welcome start to a slow process of regaining some normality.
Books have been key purchases over the last few weeks, and in our online Bookshop you will find that the 3 for 2 offer on our popular British Library Crime Classics series has been expanded to include all British Library Paperback fiction. As our physical Bookshop remains closed, we have been busy adding over 100 bestselling titles to our online Bookshop, and we will be continuing to add new titles each week. Whether it’s beautiful editions of classic fiction and poetry, quirky gift books, books about society and culture, or a variety of Children’s titles, we hope that you will be able to find a new addition for your bookshelf.
Across the wider online shop, greeting cards and our British Library puzzle books have been a frequent feature of orders, as have a personal favourite, our micro jigsaw puzzles. Check out our collection of 'Home Activities', curated to help make staying at home a bit easier (or at least more fun!).
So, if you’re a loyal customer of the British Library Shop, we’d love to see you back digitally – we’re adding lots of new products to the website, and if there’s something you’ve seen in-store but you can’t find it online, do let us know and we’ll do our best to help. If you’ve not shopped with us before, then we welcome you to our digital store, and hope you find something you like.
Charlie Wainwright, Buyer, British Library Shop.