We’re back, and we can’t wait to see you again.
To return to the Reading Rooms, you will need to:
- Have a Reader Pass with an expiry date of or after 18 March 2020.
- Book a desk online for up to two sessions per week. You can order up to five collection items per visit, and if you would like to reserve any items from your first visit to see again at your second, just let our staff know.
- Book your desk before you order collection items to consult. Make sure you do it this way round, or your items might be ordered for the wrong day.
- Order collection items as soon as you have booked your desk. Please find item ordering deadlines below, according to the day of your visit.
|If you book a desk for:||you need to order your items by the end of the previous|
- Wear a face covering in all areas of the Library, including at your desk in the Reading Room. If you are exempt please let a member of staff know.
- Please don’t come to the Library if you feel unwell. If you’re unable to attend, please let our customer services team know at firstname.lastname@example.org as they can reallocate your ticket to give more researchers the opportunity to attend.
You can book here for:
- Business & IP Centre, St Pancras
- Humanities 1, St Pancras
- Humanities 2, St Pancras
- Manuscripts, St Pancras
- Maps, St Pancras
- Rare Books & Music, St Pancras
- Boston Spa, Yorkshire
Book here for anything else you would like to do at the Library, including our exhibition galleries, Members’ Room and public desks.
New Reading Room tickets will be released every Thursday at 11.00.
Initially we’re releasing a limited number of Reading Room tickets every week. This might mean tickets are booked quickly and our Box Office may be busy, so please bear with us if you aren’t able to book a desk right away. We will increase capacity as it is safe to do so in the coming weeks.
We realise this is going to be a little strange for everyone so we appreciate your patience while we all adjust to doing things differently.
St Pancras Tuesday - Saturday, 11.00 – 15.00Boston Spa Tuesday - Friday, 11.00 – 15.00
Who can attend?
We’re working really hard to enable as many Readers as possible to return to research here safely and we’ll keep you updated as we reopen.
- You can visit the Reading Rooms if you have either
- an in date Reader Pass
- a Reader Pass that has or will have expired since our buildings closed on 18 March 2020
- If your pass has expired since 18 March 2020 you will need to extend your Online Account to order collection items. Please follow the instructions here to do so.
- We are reopening Reader Registration gradually to keep everyone safe in the space, so if your pass expired before 18 March 2020 you can now book an appointment to renew. Find out more about renewing your Reader Pass.
Everything you need to know
How to book a desk
- Book your desk before you order collection items
- Desks are booked using our online Box Office. If you haven’t booked a ticket from the Library before, you will need to register. This is different from your Reader account
- If you want to view a special collection item, make sure you book space in the Rare Books & Music Reading Room. If you’re not sure if your item is in a special collection, you can find out in Explore the British Library. Please double check this before you book your desk.
Using our Box Office
- Select the Reading Room you wish to book for below when tickets are released
- Check you are booking the right Reading Room for the collection items you want to order
- Pick a date and time slot from the list
- Select 1 ticket and add to the basket. Tickets are free
- Proceed to checkout
- If you have bought a ticket from our Box Office in the past, enter your details to log in. If you have forgotten your password you can request an email to reset it. This account is different to your Reader account. If you are new to the Box Office, you will need to register
- Accept our terms and conditions. This includes our COVID 19 declaration that you will not come to the Library if you are suffering from symptoms or have been instructed to self-isolate
- Check your order and complete your booking
- You will be emailed a confirmation email and print at home ticket. You will need to bring your ticket with you. Please either print this out or show it on a mobile device on the day.
Ordering collection items
- As soon as you’ve booked your Reading Room desk, you should order your collection items. You can order up to five collection items per booked slot, unless ordering manuscripts – you can order up to four manuscripts. Use our catalogues Explore the British Library or Explore Archives and Manuscripts to order your items
- If you only want to view electronic items via the Reading Room PCs, you don’t need to book this in advance but you will still need a Reading Room ticket
- Some collection items, like rare and delicate material, are temporarily unavailable as we can’t provide facilities to view them at the moment. Please bear with us if your collection item isn’t available right away, we’ll be adding items as it is safe to do so in the coming weeks
- You won’t be able to order items on the day, so you need to request them at least 48 hours in advance of your desk booking. The table below shows the deadlines for item ordering, according to the day of your visit.
Most importantly, please check My Reading Room Requests before you set off to the Library to make sure your items have arrived.
What to bring
- Your Reader Pass and Reading Room ticket (we’ll email this to you)
- A face covering, which you must wear in all areas of the Library including at your desk in the Reading Room. If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please let a member of staff know
- Only essential items in a clear plastic bag. Clear plastic bags will be available on the day if you don’t have one
- If you need to bring more, the Cloakroom will be available as usual for small bags and coats or the Locker Room will be reopening from Tuesday 8 September
- Food cannot be stored in the Cloakroom but can now be stored in lockers once they reopen. Please clean your locker with the wipes provided after use.
When you get to St Pancras
- Entry to the Library will be at Gate 2 on Ossulston Street. Please arrive no more than 30 minutes before the start time on your ticket, so we can manage social distancing in the queue. The queue may take up to 30 minutes
- You’ll need to show both your Reader Pass and your Reading Room ticket at Gate 2
- There will be a one-way system across the Piazza and around the Library. This might take a little longer but it’s keeping everyone safe. This route will take you past the Cloakroom and Locker Room
- You’ll need to pass through Security at the Main Entrance. Security may need to check your bag and will do so with minimal contact
- Your booking will be for a specific Reading Room so please follow the signs.
In the Reading Rooms at St Pancras
- We’re limiting the number of Readers in the Reading Rooms to keep everyone safe
- When you arrive at the Reading Room, you’ll need to show your Reader Pass and Reading Room ticket to Security
- You’ll be directed to the Issue Desk where you’ll be given your desk allocation. We’re allocating desks to keep a safe distance between Readers
- If you’ve ordered collection items, you can also collect these from the Issue Desk
- If you need to use a PC these will be spaced out too, with wipes provided to keep them clean
- Self-service copying will be available, with payment by card only. Staff won’t be able to assist at the moment
- Materials on open shelves in the Reading Rooms will not be accessible
- If you have a reference enquiry, our Reference Teams are now on site in the Reading Rooms, or please use QuickChat or email.
Other facilities at St Pancras
- Our toilets will be open, with enhanced cleaning procedures in place
- The King’s Library Café on Floor 1 will be serving hot and cold drinks and cold food only
- Origin Coffee in the Entrance Hall will be open for takeaway purchases as you exit
- We have switched off the water fountains for hygiene reasons. You can bring a filled bottle of water with you, or drinks will be available to purchase from the King’s Library Café. Normal Reading Room guidelines apply and drinks will need to be stored in the Cloakroom or Locker Room
- The Bookshop will be open on the Ground Floor as you exit
- We’ve gone cashless and will be accepting card payments only
- No smoking is permitted anywhere on the St Pancras site, including the Piazza.
When you get to Boston Spa
- You’ll need to show both your Reader Pass and your Reading Room ticket at the Security kiosk at the entrance to the visitor car park
- Free parking will be available as usual
- There will be a one-way system in Reception and into the Reading Room, please follow the signs
- You won’t need to sign in, but you will need to show your Reader Pass and Reading Room ticket at Reception
- The toilets will be open as usual, with enhanced cleaning procedures in place
- The water fountain will be available to use, please follow the instructional signage
- Unfortunately we aren’t able to open the vending machine at Boston Spa at the moment.
In the Reading Room at Boston Spa
- We’re limiting the number of Readers in the Reading Room to keep everyone safe
- When you arrive at the Reading Room you will be directed to an allocated desk, where your pre-ordered collection items will be waiting. Please leave the collection items on the desk when you are finished
- If you need to use a PC, these will be spaced out, with wipes provided to keep them clean
- Self-service copying will be available, with payment by card only. Staff won’t be able to assist at the moment.
If you have a disability or access requirements
- Please let us know before you visit by emailing email@example.com
- 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 Reader Pass (with an expiry date on or after 18 March 2020) and a Reading Room ticket to enter the buildings. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
- Find out more about accessibility at the Library.
Keeping everyone safe
- Our one-way system helps everyone stay safe by social distancing. We’ve added markers throughout the Library to help you keep a safe distance
- Please ensure you wash your hands frequently and use our hand sanitisers where available
- Wear a face covering in all areas of the Library, including at your desk in the Reading Room. If you are exempt please let a member of staff know
- The books are staying safe too; all items will be quarantined for 72 hours at the end of every week. This might mean an item is not available when you want it and we’ll make every effort to let you know in advance of your visit. Please check My Reading Room Requests before you set off to make sure your item has arrived
- Please don’t come to the Library if you feel unwell.
Our customer services team can be reached by email at email@example.com or 01937 546546.
Data Protection and Track & 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.
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.