Boston Spa, Yorkshire

Readers at desks in the Boston Spa Reading Room

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

Please find out more about how we’re welcoming you back safely, before your visit.

We have extended the range of material available to Readers in Yorkshire, with around 85% of the items requested at St Pancras now also available in the north. You can order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogue.

Access is free, but you must first get a Reader Pass and accept our Conditions of Use.

Upon arrival, please sign in at the Reception desk. 

In the Reading Room, please note that food or drink is not permitted. If you need to take notes, only pencils may be used; no pens may be brought inside.

Changes at Boston Spa

Visitors to the Reading Room may notice some changes while we prepare to redevelop the site and create much-needed storage capacity for our collection. Over the coming weeks the site may be a little noisier and busier than usual. We’re sorry for any negative impact this may have on your visit.

We plan to keep the Reading Room open while we make improvements, but we do expect some unavoidable periods of disruption over the next five years. We’re currently in the planning stages and will have more information to share with you in early 2022.

Receiving your items

There is a minimum delivery time of 48 hours, and items have to be requested in advance. We recommend all registered Readers request items in advance of their visit.

Material available

Legal deposit and general reference collections

The Library receives a copy of every book, magazine, journal and newspaper published in the UK. The bulk of this material is available 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. There is free access to more than 20 million digitised pages of historic newspapers via the British Newspaper Archive resource. You can also 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 our onsite terminals. These include journal collection search interfaces, where you can search for articles across a range of journal titles.



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 has now reopened. Please note in line with government guidance you will need to scan the NHS Track and Trace QR code to enter the restaurant, or you can provide us with your name, email address or phone number instead.


There is a free-to-use ATM.

Free Wi-Fi

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


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.


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