How to use the Library

It’s all yours. Get a free British Library Reader Pass to use study space and access over 170 million items.

Want to research your family history, read a newspaper from the 1940s, or explore ancient manuscripts? Your free Reader Pass will give you access to thousands of items online and over 170 million collection items in our Reading Rooms – all from comfy seats, with free Wi-Fi, and staff to help you find what you need.

In London or Yorkshire

Get your Reader Pass

Your Reader Pass is a library card that gives you free access to our collections and Reading Rooms in London and Yorkshire.

Order items

Order items from our catalogue of over 170 million items and they'll be waiting for you in our Reading Rooms.

Visit our Reading Rooms

We have 11 Reading Rooms in London and one in Yorkshire, where you can order and see our collection items, or just come to study.

From wherever you are

Use online resources with your Reader Pass

From databases to digital archives, your Reader Pass gives you access to millions of items that can be accessed from anywhere.

Explore our online collections

No Reader Pass? No problem. Explore our website or search what's available online to access content from wherever you are.

Ask a librarian

There are no silly questions here. Our team can help you get started, order items, and find the perfect source for your research.

Our study spaces

If you want to access our collection or you're looking for somewhere quiet to study, our Reading Rooms are the place to be. All you need is a free Reader Pass.

How to visit us

Opening times

We're open every day except some days in the Christmas and New Year period.

How to get here

Plan your journey to our London or Yorkshire sites.


We offer a range of facilities including restaurants, cloakrooms and free WiFi.


We aim to provide an accessible environment for all our visitors.