Readers at desks in the Newsroom at the British Library

Find this room on Floor 2 in St Pancras.

Our News Reading Room, the Newsroom, is a treasure trove for researchers. You’ll find British and international newspapers dating back to the 17th century and a growing collection of radio, television and web news.

Explore our news media subject guide to get started.

Who is the Newsroom for?

Anyone can use our Newsroom. All you need is a Reader Pass.

You might be a journalist investigating a cold case from decades past, an author researching your lead character or a business looking into your history through articles and advertisements. News is a fascinating record of events as they happened – and you’ll find what you need here.

How the Newsroom can help you

In the Newsroom you can:

  • Order collection items to view in the Reading Room using our catalogues 
  • View our open access collection material on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals. and electronic journals.

Items on the shelves in the Newsroom

UK national newspapers on microfilm

Microfilm sets of high use UK national and Sunday newspapers including The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times and The Observer.

Press directories from 1846 onwards 

Annual listings of UK and international newspapers and periodicals providing publication details such as frequency, cover price, editorial address, political affiliation, and a summary of typical content. The major press directories include:

  • The Newspaper Press Directory 1846-1976
  • Benn’s Media Guide 1982-2018
  • Willing’s Press Guide 1871-2018
  • Sell’s Dictionary of the World Press 1883-1921

Indexes to publications

A selection of published indexes to the news reports and featured articles in UK and US newspapers including:

  • Palmer’s Index to The Times 1790-2018
  • The Official Index to The Times 1906- July 2013
  • The Times Literary Supplement Index 1902-2003
  • The New York Times Index 1851-2016
  • The Los Angeles Times Index 1972-2013
  • The Wall St Journal Index 1967-2017

Access to special collections

Published catalogues providing access to special microfilm collections:

  • Francis Place collection
    Microfilm of press cuttings and other items relating to politics and economics, 1770-1853
  • Northern Ireland political literature: periodicals, 1966-89
    Microfiche collection produced by the Linen Hall Library, Belfast
  • Tuskegee Institute news clippings file
    Microfilm of cuttings relating to the history of African Americans, 1899-1966
  • The Underground and Alternative Press in Britain, 1966-83
    Microfiche / microfilm collection produced by Harvester Press
  • Belgian Underground Press in World War II, 1939-45
    Microfiche collection from Le Centre de recherchés et d'études historiques de la Seconde guerre mondiale
  • Dutch Underground Press, 1940-45
    Microfiche collection produced by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation.

Reference books with information relating to news media and journalism

The collection includes newspaper bibliographies, directories, encyclopaedias, and a collection of books on news media and magazine history, journalism, and media studies.

Items available to order to this Reading Room

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

Microfilm is stored on site in St Pancras, but most of our original newspapers are stored at our other site in Yorkshire and take 48 hours to be delivered to the Reading Room.

Using the Newsroom

Anyone with a British Library Reader Pass can access the Newsroom.

Get a Reader Pass

Reference enquiries

If you need help, ask our Reference Specialists at the Enquiry Desk. 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
  • Provide a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations to help you find your way around the collection.

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.

If you are unable to visit you can contact the News Reference Team directly, use our Quick Chat service, or get in touch via Twitter.


Researching newspapers

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

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.

All Help guides