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 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

Blog posts

What makes a beautiful word?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

by Elliot Sinclair, Web Editor in the Content and Community Team. Music can give you goosebumps. Scenery can give you goosebumps. But can a word give you goosebumps? It sure can. And in Georgian, they even have a word for...

Contemporary Poetry at the Library: A Quick Start Guide

Friday, March 19, 2021

A collaborative blog from colleagues across Contemporary British Collections for World Poetry Day. The British Library is privileged to hold and make available for study manuscripts, archives and publications relating to world-renowned poems and poetry, from Beowulf to Jalal al-Din...

Thinking about Alasdair Gray and Lanark, forty years since

Thursday, February 25, 2021

a guest blog by Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow. 25th February 2021 is the first GRAY DAY, a celebration of the writer and artist ALASDAIR GRAY, on the 40th anniversary of his masterpiece Lanark. I’ve been...

Weetabix and beans: a linguistic take

Friday, February 19, 2021

by Elliot Sinclair, Web Editor in the Co...

More blog posts

Related events

MA in Early Modern English Literature: Text & Transmission

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The British Library is working in partnership with King’s College London to teach an MA in English literature, entitled 'Early Modern English Literature: Text and Transmission'.

View all events

Projects

National Life Stories: Authors' Lives

In-depth interviews with leading authors working in Britain today

Off the Map: Videogame & Interactive Fiction Design Competition

A videogame and interactive fiction design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Case studies

More Case studies
…A PhD can be a lonely journey, but collaborative PhDs are certainly not that.…

Investigating constructions of identity in the works and archive of the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

…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.

Library experts

Jeremy Jenkins

Curator, Emerging Media, Contemporary British Publications

Stephen Cleary

Lead Curator, Literary and Creative Recordings

Alison Bailey

Lead Curator, Printed Heritage Collections 1901-2000

More staff members