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

Book Now For Online Event 'Keep On Keeping On: Celebrating Andrew Salkey'

Thursday, November 25, 2021

By Eleanor Casson, Manuscripts Cataloguer for Contemporary Literary and Creative Archives. 'Keep On Keeping On: Celebrating Andrew Salkey' is a British Library online event hosted on the British Library Platform marking the life and legacy of Jamaican writer and poet...

Andrew Salkey: “Too Polemic. Too Political”

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

By Eleanor Casson, Archivist and cataloguer of the Andrew Salkey Archive (Deposit 10310). Last few days to get tickets to Artist, Mentor, Friend, Activist: Andrew Salkey a Man of Many Hats a British Library conference held in collaboration with Goldsmiths...

The British Library is at the 2021 Thought Bubble Comics Festival

Friday, October 22, 2021

by Ian Cooke, Head of Contemporary British Publications, Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator and Kenn Taylor, Lead Cultural Producer (North). Thought Bubble is the Yorkshire comic art festival, with events in the week starting 8th November, and ending in a two...

A Bear called Paddington: published 13 October 1958

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

by Alison Bailey, Lead Curator Printed Heritage Collections 1901-2000 and Curator of Paddington: The Story of a Bear. View of Paddington: the story of a bear – exhibition at the British Library The first stories about Paddington – the bear...

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