Our collections are a rich resource for understanding British life from the post-War period to the present day. They span the range of published formats, as well as manuscripts, archives and sound recordings.

Collection guides

Reading Room  Paul Grundy

St Pancras Reading Rooms

At St Pancras we have 11 Reading Rooms, each specialising in a different subject area or type of material and with different opening hours. In our Reading Rooms you can:

  • Consult books, journals and other items from our collections
  • Access a wide range of electronic resources and electronic journals
  • Consult subject guides, bibliographies and other research aids

If you need help, please ask our Reference Specialists at the enquiry desks or contact the Reference Service.

We offer a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Case studies

More Case studies
…The UK Web Archive is a fantastic resource for researchers…

Neema used the UK Web Archive to explore how ethnic minorities voted in the EU Referendum.

…Working with the British Library has enabled me to get my research out there beyond academia.…

How smartphones are changing storytelling: Alastair Horne, PhD student.

…To create an archive which will be part of the Library is really a privilege…

Dvora is a collaborative PhD student exploring the social world of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards.

Library experts

Jeremy Jenkins

Curator, Emerging Media, Contemporary British Publications

Jonnie Robinson

Lead Curator, Spoken English

Mary Stewart

Curator, Oral History, and Deputy Director of National Life Stories

Dr Luke McKernan

Lead Curator, News and Moving Image

More staff members

Blog posts

Recording of the week: Women’s workwear in the 1960s

Monday, July 13, 2020

This week's selection comes from Camille Johnston, Oral History Assistant Archivist. Speeding The Mail: An Oral History of the Post Office, CD published by the British Library and the British Postal Museum and Archive, 2005. In 1969 Morag Simpson MacDonald...

Linton Kwesi Johnson awarded PEN Pinter Prize 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize 2020. Sarah O’Reilly looks at Johnson’s career through his life story oral history interview for ‘Authors’ Lives’.

The Santals, Scandinavian missionaries, and salvage ethnomusicology: an encounter of three worlds

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Since 2015, Christian Poske has conducted his PhD research on the Bengal recordings of the Arnold Bake Collection. A Collaborative Doctoral Scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, situated his PhD within two institutions: the British Library Sound...

Recording of the week: A charm to ward off evil

Monday, June 29, 2020

This week's selection comes from Andrew Ormsby, Audio Project Cataloguer for Unlocking our Sound Heritage. Unknown author (unidentified "17th-century English chapbook") / Public domain Staverton Bridge - Holy water (C604/19 C8) In the 1970s, folk song collector Peter Kennedy taught...

More blog posts

Projects

Emerging Formats

This project builds our ability to collect publications designed for mobile devices that respond to reader interaction or are structured as databases.

Save our Sounds

Save our Sounds is our programme to preserve the nation’s sound heritage.

Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets

The Michael Marks Awards support innovation in UK poetry.

Know Your Place - West of England

A crowd-sourcing digital mapping project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

All projects