Science Reading Rooms

Desks, shelving and Readers in the Science Reading Rooms at the British Library

Find these rooms on Floors 2 and 3 in St Pancras.

Here you can view books, academic journals, scientific journals and science reports on our shelves or online. We hold a range of material on physics, chemistry, earth sciences, biology, medicine and health, nursing, engineering, the environment, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, transport and agriculture. 

In the Science Reading Rooms you can:

  • Use our catalogues to order items to the Reading Room from our science collection 
  • View our open access collection material on the shelves 
  • Access online online databases, electronic books and scientific journals.

Who are the Science Reading Rooms for?

Anyone can use the Science Reading Rooms. All you need is a Reader Pass.

We see a wide variety of users here, including science undergraduates and postgraduates who make regular use of our open access shelves and items in our collection, but we also have professionals working across the sciences, patent searchers, engineers, research scientists, inventors and technicians.

Items on the Shelves in these Reading Rooms

Research level monographs and peer-reviewed journals from 2012 onwards

Our collection of academic monographs and peer-reviewed journals, including titles such as Nature, Psychological Science and The Lancet contain practical and theoretical scientific research.

Trade and professional journals

We hold a large proportion of the English-language scientific and professional journals published in Europe, North America and Asia. All major languages represented, including French, German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese. 

Chemical abstracts in print, Vol 1–151, 1907–2009

Access volumes of this key science literature index, which was published fortnightly every year from 1907 to 2009 by the American Chemical Society. 

Items available to order to these Reading Rooms

You can use our catalogues to order items to view in these Reading Rooms.

In addition to our printed collections you can access a large number of scientific, medical and technological databases.

Items available include:

  • The Lancet
  • The British Medical Journal
  • The Cambridge World History of Human Diseases 
  • DSM-5
  • Medical and Technical Dictionaries
  • The British Journal of Nursing
  • The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • The Journal of Organic Chemistry 
  • British Standards Online
  • IEC Standards
  • ISDU Standards
  • British, EU and USA Pharmacopoeia

Using the Science Reading Rooms

Anyone with a British Library Reader Pass can access the Science Reading Rooms.

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 Science Reference Team directly, use our Quick Chat service, or get in touch via Twitter.


Ask the Reference Enquiry Team

Our Reference Enquiry Team can help you with short research enquiries

Get your Reader Pass

All you need to explore our collections is a Reader Pass.

Order items

Order items from our catalogue of over 170 million items and they'll be waiting for you in our Reading Rooms.

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