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

Windrush Sounds

Thursday, September 13, 2018

by Callum McKean, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives and Manuscripts, who assisted on the sound selections for the exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land, on display in the Entrance Hall of the Library until 21st October 2018. More details...

'I into history, now': Andrew Salkey's Jamaican epic

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Andrew Salkey in the mid 1960s. Photo courtesy of Jason Salkey. This is a poem about Jamaica, about the experience of the slave trade and of colonisation and about a struggle for freedom and for identity which still rages today...

Mary Shelley in Italy: ‘…tragedy with a scene both affecting and sublime’

Thursday, August 30, 2018

By Stephen Noble, Modern Archives and Manuscripts. You can read more about Mary Shelley on our Discovering Literature website. Material relating to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is now on display in our Treasures Gallery. In 1818 Mary Shelley and her husband...

Remembering Bill Griffiths

Friday, August 17, 2018

by guest bloggers Professor Robert Hampson, FEA, FRSA, Royal Holloway, University of London and Matt Martin, Stuart Hall Research Scholar, Birkbeck, University of London. An evening of readings and reminiscence to honour Griffith's achievements will take place at Birkbeck School...

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: Videogame & Interactive Fiction Design Competition

A videogame and interactive fiction 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.