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

Cataloguing James Berry

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

By Callum McKean, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives and Manuscripts. The James Berry Archive, which was acquired by the Library in 2012, is comprised of twenty-eight boxes containing drafts, notebooks, diaries, correspondence and audio-visual material spanning Berry’s fifty year career....

Keitai shousetsu: the first mobile phone fictions

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

by Alastair Horne, a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student based at the British Library and Bath Spa University. His research explores how mobile phones are changing storytelling. The launch of the iPhone in June 2007 marked a turning point for...

Introducing the Women of Windrush

Friday, June 22, 2018

Guyana-born writer and teacher Beryl Gilroy with her pupils, image courtesy of the Estate of Beryl Gilroy. On Monday 25 June the British Library in association with Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary writing, will be hosting Windrush Women: Past...

Virginia Woolf's Haunted Walk

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A guest post by artist Liz Mathews describing the inspiration and process behind her recently acquired book, The Strand of the Thames, as part of World Refugee Day. For more information about Liz Mathews' work, including Paper Wings -- a...

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.