Keeping everyone safe

Exterior of the British Library with a 'Good to go' logo

We’re back and we can’t wait to see you again

We’re just open to pre-booked visitors at the moment and we’re working really hard to make sure we can welcome you back safely.

Plan your visit

As we gradually reopen, our opening times have changed:

London, St Pancras building opening times

Monday Closed

Tuesday 11.00 – 18.00

Wednesday 11.00 – 20.00

Thursday 11.00 – 20.00

Friday 11.00 – 18.00

Saturday 11.00 – 17.00

Sunday 11.00 – 17.00

London, St Pancras Reading Room opening hours

Monday            Closed

Tuesday 11.00 – 16.00

Wednesday 11.00 – 20.00 (Maps and Manuscripts close at 16.00)

Thursday 11.00 – 20.00 (Maps and Manuscripts close at 16.00)

Friday 11.00 – 16.00

Saturday 11.00 – 16.00

Sunday Closed

Boston Spa

Tuesday – Friday 11.00 – 15.00


You’ll need to pre-book online for whatever you would like to see at the Library. At the moment you can pre-book:

Reading Room, Members’ Room and Public Desk tickets are released weekly on Thursdays at 11.00.

Keeping everyone safe

We’re limiting the numbers in our galleries and Reading Rooms, and have implemented a one-way system throughout the Library to help you keep a safe distance. This may take a little longer but it’s keeping everyone safe so please follow the signs.

You must wear a face covering in all areas of the Library, including at your desk in the Reading Rooms. If you’re exempt please let a member of staff know.

Our toilets are open with regular, enhanced cleaning. We’ll be frequently cleaning all our spaces, especially high touch points. Please ensure you wash your hands frequently and use our hand sanitisers where available.

We’ll be removing a few interactive elements in our exhibitions to reduce contact. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty to see. Please don’t touch the display cases.

Please don’t come to the Library if you feel unwell. In the event of future closures or if you need to cancel your visit due to COVID-19, we’ll offer you alternative dates if available, or a full refund. If you can no longer attend please cancel your booking so we can offer the tickets to other visitors. If you feel unwell, or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19, please don’t come to the Library, and reschedule your visit by emailing

On the day

If you’re returning to visit our Reading Rooms, find out more about what to expect.

Visiting our galleries? Read on.

  • Entry to the Library is at Gate 2 on Ossulston Street. You’ll need to show your ticket here. This can be printed or shown on your phone. Please arrive 15 minutes before the time on your ticket to make sure you’re ready for your booked timeslot
  • You’ll need to pass through security, who may need to check your bag but will do so with minimal contact
  • You can take small bags into the galleries or our Cloakroom will be open if you need to use it. We don’t have space for big bags or luggage, so please don’t bring these
  • Eat, drink, shop. The King’s Library Café on Floor 1 will be serving hot and cold drinks and cold food, and Origin Coffee in the Entrance Hall will be open for takeaway purchases as you exit. We’ve switched off the water fountains for hygiene reasons, but you can bring a filled bottle of water with you or drinks will be available to purchase from the King’s Library Café. Our bookshop will be open on the Ground Floor as you exit, so you can pick up your next favourite novel
  • If you’re visiting our Members Room, you won’t be able to order food and drink for the moment, however Members are temporarily permitted to enjoy their own refreshments in the space
  • Breastfeeding is welcome in any part of the building, but if you would prefer a private space please let a member of staff know.

If you have a disability or access requirements

  • Please let us know before you visit by emailing
  • When you arrive, make yourself known to Security staff at Gate 2 who will arrange assistance 
  • If you will be accompanied by an assistant or carer, they will also need to have a ticket to enter the buildings
  • Find out more about accessibility at the Library  

Need help?

Our Customer Services team can be reached by email at or 01937 546546.

Data Protection and Track and Trace

In addition to collecting contact details as part of our normal booking process, we will also be recording the times that users enter and leave our premises in order to reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus.

In line with guidance issued by the Department for Health and Social Care, we will keep these details for 21 days. We will share your contact details with Test and Trace personnel, if asked, in the event of a fellow user or staff member testing positive for coronavirus.

Your data will be kept secure and handled in line with ethical standards and the Data Protection Act at every stage of the process – from its collection and storage by us to its transfer and use by NHS Test and Trace. NHS Test and Trace will handle all data according to the highest ethical and security standards and it will be used only for NHS care, management, evaluation and research.

The Library’s Privacy Policy can be found on our website.

We're Good to Go

We’ve been awarded the Industry Standard mark which means we are following government and industry COVID-19 guidelines to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.