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 free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

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

Partition memories and the power of oral testimony

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

BBC journalist and author Kavita Puri reflects on the power of oral testimony. Hear more from Kavita at the British Library on Tuesday 16 July at 7pm, where she will discuss Partition Voices in conversation with Kirsty Wark.

Recording of the week: discovering Victorian coins in a Leeds butchers shop

Monday, July 8, 2019

This week's selection comes from Camille Johnston, Oral History Assistant Archivist. As a boy the artist Norman Ackroyd (born 1938) developed a fascination with Victorian coins such as the Godless florin and Bun Head penny. He helped out in his...

The Susan Bradshaw Papers: Archive of an Insightful Communicator

Friday, July 5, 2019

The archive of Susan Bradshaw (1931-2005) is now catalogued and available for consultation in the Library’s Rare Books and Music Reading Room. Proceeds from the British Library's purchase of the archive went towards the Royal Philharmonic Society's establishment of the...

Penelope Fitzgerald’s Archive: A Human Connection

Friday, July 5, 2019

by Sarah Ellis, Archivist and Cataloguer of the Penelope Fitzgerald Archive (Add MS 89289). The archive is now available to consult, for free, in our Reading Rooms. In 2017, the British Library acquired the archive of Penelope Fitzgerald (née Knox),...

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

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.