Accessibility at the British Library

Accessibility ramp

The British Library aims to provide an accessible environment for all our visitors.

To help us, we ask that you contact the Library ahead of your visit with any questions regarding specific requirements or adjustments that we can make.

The information below relates to our London St Pancras site, for which an accessibility map is also available.

Find out about accessibility at our Boston Spa Reading Room and accessibility for our website.

Entrances and lifts

There are step-free routes into the British Library from Euston Road, Midland Road and Ossulston Street.

There are four wide shallow steps at the entrance to the building from ground level to the front doors. There is a ramp to the right of the steps.

The Information Desk is opposite and slightly to the right of the entrance doors. To the right of the Information Desk there is a ramp to the Lower Ground Floor to access the Cloakroom and Locker Room.

On the right-hand side towards the rear of the Entrance Hall there is a disabled lift that will accommodate a standard-size wheelchair and gives access to the Lower Ground and Upper Ground Floors (which are where the main public lifts are located).

All floors of the building can be reached using accessible lifts and entrances to our Reading Rooms, exhibition galleries and accessible toilets are either automatic or open at the press of a button.

Blue badge parking

There are seven parking bays for blue badge holders on the west side of the Library, immediately adjacent to our Ossulston Street entrance.

This entrance is fully ramped and is located within approx. 100 metres of the doors to the main entrance.

These bays are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also public metered bays in this area.

Accessible toilets

There are accessible toilets on all floors of the Library, including separate unisex accessible toilets for privacy.

Prams and pushchairs

Prams and pushchairs may be stored in our Locker Room. We have chains where they may be locked – you will need to bring your own padlock. Please note all items are left at the owner’s risk.

Borrow a wheelchair

We offer free hire of manual wheelchairs to visitors subject to availability. There are nine manual wheelchairs available at the main entrance and these can be booked by contacting us on the phone number below at least 24 hours in advance. Please note that assistance cannot be provided in the use of these wheelchairs.

Guides and assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome in the building.

Sound enhancement / Induction loops

Hearing induction loops are fitted at all Library Information and Enquiry Desks.

Reading Rooms

Reading Rooms are located on Floors 1, 2 and 3 and have full wheelchair access. There are signs showing the entrances to the different Reading Rooms.

To use our Reading Rooms, you must first get a Reader Pass at Reader Registration on the Upper Ground Floor, so don't forget to bring proof of your identity and address. If you are visiting with a helper or personal assistant, both of you will need a Reader Pass.

If you require a private facility for medical reasons during your visit please contact us on the details below.

Inside the Reading Rooms you will find height-adjustable tables and lowered service desks, alternative keyboards, specialist equipment, and facilities for the visually and hearing impaired. We also have text-to-speech software for Non-Visual Desktop Access. To use any of these facilities, or for assistance carrying items to your desk, please speak to our Reading Room staff.

Visit our How to order items page for information on advance ordering.

Reading Room booths

Study carrels (small booths for study) are provided in each Reading Room (except Business & IP Centre) for Readers who have a special need or disability or need to use any of  our specialised reading equipment. The carrels can accommodate one or two people. As advance booking is required for the carrels, please speak to staff in the Reading Rooms or contact us on the details below.

Bookings are normally for two hours and only two collection items are allowed in the carrel at any one time.

Emergency procedures in the Reading Rooms

Readers who consider themselves frail or have difficulty walking should make themselves known to the security staff at the entrance to Reading Rooms. In an emergency, security staff will assist with evacuation via a fireman's lift or Evacuchair.

Exhibitions and events

The British Library’s exhibition galleries are wheelchair accessible and can be accessed using step ramps, lifts or escalators.

Seating is available for visitors who find standing for long periods uncomfortable. We have folding gallery stools available at the entrance to both our PACCAR  and Treasures Gallery.

Large print guides are available at the Information Desk or in our galleries. 

Concessions are available for disabled visitors for ticketed exhibitions, with free companion tickets for carers.

Many of our events are held in the Library’s Knowledge Centre which has a lift for accessibility.

Some of our behind-the-scenes conservation studio tours will be assisted by a sign language interpreter.

Other support

Business & IP Centre

The British Library Business & IP Centre provides a range of special facilities, including easy wheelchair access, hearing loops, magnification tools and screen readers.

Learning team

The Learning team engages learners of all ages with the British Library’s collection through a creative and inclusive programme delivered onsite, online and regionally. We have full disabled access and can tailor sessions to suit participants with special educational needs.

Contact us

If you have issues not addressed here and would like further help please contact us:

Telephone: 0330 333 1144
Textphone: 01937 546 434
Outside UK: +44 1937 546 060