From Beowulf to the Brontës, from Shakespeare quartos to Wendy Cope’s emails, our collections offer an unparalleled resource for the study of English literature and British theatre. They cover a range of formats including archives and manuscripts, printed books 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

Blog posts

Artists’ Books Now: Here and Now

Thursday, May 24, 2018

By Jerry Jenkins, Curator of Contemporary British Publications and Emerging Media. Artists’ Books Now is curated by Egidija Čiricaitė, Sophie Loss, Jeremy Jenkins and Richard Price. The next Artists’ Books Now evening will be held on 5th November at the...

Harold Pinter and ‘The Birthday Party’: Don’t let them tell you what to do…

Saturday, April 28, 2018

by Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning. The Harold Pinter Archive is held at Add MS 8880 and free to consult in the Manuscripts Reading Room. For more information about the Lord Chamberlain's Plays, also available in the Reading...

T S Eliot in Margate: Writing ‘The Waste Land’

Thursday, April 26, 2018

In 1921, T S Eliot and his wife Vivienne came to Margate whilst convalescing from illness. Both were suffering from nervous disorders and it was a period of great strain on their marriage. During this period of both mental and...

[sic] Thus it was Written: Rachel Hand’s Ash

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

By Jeremy Jenkins, Curator of Contemporary British Published Collections and Emerging Media. Rachael Hand’s latest work Ash (2017) comprises of an edition of 15. Ash is constructed from digital print, laser cut card and an etched engraved cover assembled around...

More blog posts

Related events

Workshop FREE

Literature in Context

Monday to Friday

Evaluate the influence of social, historical and literary context on a variety of written texts.

Workshop FREE

Questioning Texts

Monday to Friday

Questioning Texts develops students’ understanding of context and chronology within English Literature.

View all events

Projects

National Life Stories: Authors' Lives

In-depth interviews with leading authors working in Britain today

Off the map

A videogame design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Case studies

…It will be in the British Library for eternity!…

Hannah's collaborative PhD research will lead to a new archive on black British poetry in performance.

…The research I did as an Edison Fellow at the British Library was invaluable for my PhD…

Alexis Bennett researched 1930s British film music as an Edison Fellow at the British Library.

…we felt like we had a bond with everybody…

Jessica Rodgers took part in our Writing London project in 2012 engaging young people aged 16-24, outside of formal education, with library and heritage collections.