Boston Spa, Yorkshire

Readers at desks in the Boston Spa Reading Room

Find this Reading Room at our site in Boston Spa, near Wetherby in Yorkshire. You can consult millions of items including books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilm, sound recordings and electronic resources.

Boston Spa Reading Room and Reader Registration opening times

Monday – Friday 09.00 – 16.30 
Saturday Closed 
Sunday Closed 

Who is the Boston Spa Reading Room for?

Anyone can use our Boston Spa Reading Room, you just need a Reader Pass. Typical users include students from York or Leeds universities, family history researchers, academics, or those with a particular hobby.

In the Boston Spa Reading Room you can:

Changes at Boston Spa

Sorry about the noise. We’re transforming our Boston Spa site.

Construction will begin this year. The Reading Room will remain open, but we expect some unavoidable periods of noise. Please see our Boston Spa plans for details.

Some of our collections are being moved to enable this work. As a result, some of the items you requested might not be available. Please check My Reading Room Requests before you set out to make sure your items will be here when you are or get in touch if you have any questions. 

Items available to order to this Reading Room

You can use our catalogues to order items to use in the Reading Room.

Collection items are stored across our two sites in London and Yorkshire so some may be unavailable for same day ordering and may take up to 48 hours to be delivered to the Reading Room. We recommend you request items in advance of your visit, and check My Reading Room Requests before you visit.

Collection items available include:

Legal deposit and general reference collection

We receive a copy of every book, magazine, journal and newspaper published in the UK. Most of this material is available to order to view at Boston Spa, along with purchased and overseas titles from our reference collections.


Boston Spa is the home of the UK national newspaper collection which comprises more than three centuries of local, regional and national newspapers. You can order these newspapers to view in the Reading Room.

There is also free access to more than 20 million digitised pages of historic newspapers via the British Newspaper Archive resource, and you can order newspapers on microfilm held in London, or print newspapers where no digital or microfilm alternative exists.

Document Supply collection

For over 50 years our Document Supply service has underpinned academic inter-library lending across the UK. It includes: 3 million research level books, 210,000 journal titles, 400,000 conference proceedings and 130,000 music scores.

Sound recordings

Access 3 million sound recordings via our Sound and Moving Image Catalogue which provides instant access to a growing collection of sound and video recordings, including our most frequently requested items. The service is self-operated but as it is only available on one computer terminal in the Reading Room we recommend that you contact us to make a reservation.

Electronic resources

We have a wide range of electronic databases and resources, many of which are available only on PCs in the Reading Room. These include journal collection search interfaces, where you can search for articles across a range of journal titles.

Using the Boston Spa Reading Room

Anyone with a British Library Reader Pass can access the Boston Spa Reading Room.

Get a Reader Pass.



Please leave coats and bags in the lockers. You will be provided with a token once you have signed in at the Reception desk.


Our restaurant is available for hot and cold drinks and snacks. The restaurant is card only.

Free Wi-Fi

To access free Wi-Fi, create an account once you arrive onsite.


The Reading Room is on the ground floor and has full wheelchair access. We have access to height-adjustable tables, alternative keyboards, and facilities for people with visual and hearing impairments.

Getting here

We are located at Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7BQ

By car

Exit A1M (J45 northbound, J46 southbound) and follow signs to Thorp Arch Estate and Retail Park. A1237. There is ample visitor parking on-site and a pick-up and drop-off point outside Reception. Disabled parking is located behind Reception.

By Bike

There are dedicated cycle racks on site.

By Rail

York and Leeds Stations are both about 30 minutes away by car or taxi.

By Bus

From Leeds and Harrogate there is a limited service to Walton Corner and Thorp Arch Trading Estate (Harrogate and District Services – Number 7). 

From York there is one daily return service (Arriva Service 412).

University Shuttle Bus Services

The University of Sheffield and University of York operate their own free minibus transport for their staff and students. Their timetables are as follows:


First Tuesday of the month.

The bus leaves the University at 08.45 and returns at approximately 17.00. A place can be booked on the University of Sheffield website.


Alternate Wednesdays and Fridays.

The bus departs the University at 09.30 and leaves the Reading Room at 16.15. A place can be booked on the University of York website.

Reference enquiries

If you need help, you can get in touch with our Reference Specialists. They can:

  • Guide you to the most appropriate material for your research
  • Advise you on how to access and use our printed and electronic collection and resources most effectively
  • Help you to use our catalogues and answer your bibliographic questions
  • Suggest other libraries, archives and institutions that you might find useful in your research, or guide you to relevant websites and free online resources.

If your enquiry requires more specialist help than we can provide we will forward your enquiry to the appropriate person in the Library or suggest alternative sources.

You can email the team, use our Quick Chat service, or get in touch via Twitter.


Researching newspapers

Find information and published subject indexes for newspapers in our collection.

Can I copy material in the Reading Rooms?

There are a range of options available to copy our material

Can I take photographs of British Library material?

You can use your own phone, tablet or compact camera to photograph some of our collections

Reading Room Help guides