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

‘A little giggle’: Cataloguing Michael Palin

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

by Silvia Gallotti, Manuscripts Cataloguer at the British Library currently working on the Michael Palin archive. The archive, which has been generously donated to the British Library by Palin, covers his literary and creative life during the years 1965-1987 and...

Limehouse Lights and the Lunar New Year: London's Two Chinatowns and Literature

Friday, February 16, 2018

by Callum McKean, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives and Manuscripts. This month the Library is running a series of events under the name China in Focus with speakers from a number of disciplines related to the study and appreciation of...

Nowadays and Anywhere: Jim Crace on his New Novel

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A guest blog by Jim Crace, who will speak about love and grief, music and myth, how society treats its less fortunate and the creation of his new novel, The Melody, when he launches it at the Library in February....

Just Plain Gone: Three Monographs from Etcher, Print-maker and Sculptor D.R. Wakefield

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

by Jeremy Jenkins, Curator for Contemporary British Publications and Emerging Media. Frontispiece, Going Going Going When I walk between the West End and the Euston Road I would cut through the British Museum galleries to vary my route. This would...

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.