British Library

The British Library welcomes anyone who needs to do research in their Reading Rooms in Yorkshire and London.

British Library, Boston Spa

Before you visit

We recommend you:

The British Library at Boston Spa has a Reading Room which is open to the public. We provide a free weekly minibus service to the Library for our staff and students.

The Reading Room provides access to a vast collection of material, some of which can only be consulted there.

Reference books, bibliographies and abstracting and indexing publications are available on open access.

You can also consult any of the seven million publications in the Document Supply collections at Boston Spa including:

  • Books (mostly in English back to 1801)
  • Journals (in most languages and subjects)
  • British and US doctoral theses
  • Music scores, reports, conferences and British, European and American official publications
  • Legal deposit collections held both in London and Yorkshire
  • General reference collections held both in London and Yorkshire, including purchased non-UK titles
  • Microfilmed newspapers
  • Print newspapers (where no surrogate copy is available)
  • Document Supply collections

Some of the British Library's electronic resources are freely available on the internet, others are only available in the Reading Rooms.

85% of the London Reading Rooms collection items available by request to readers in Yorkshire.

Map showing distance from York to Boston Spa (16 miles)

Free minibus to the Reading Room

We provide a free weekly minibus service to the Reading Room at Boston Spa for staff and students, on alternate Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year.

The minibus leaves from the car park in front of the Information Centre at 9.30am and leaves the Reading Room at approx. 4.15pm.

We can also pick up from Heslington East - please select this when you book.

All seats must be pre-booked online three days before your visit:

Help with bookings and requests

If you need any help with your British Library visit, please contact us:

  • Email us via LibAnswers
  • Visit the Help Desk, Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.15pm
  • Phone Interlending and Document Supply:
    +44 (0)1904 323876

Visiting the Reading Room

You will need a full British Library Reader Pass (a photo-pass) to gain access to the Boston Spa Reading Room and order collection items - you must register for this before your visit:

Please take particular note of the acceptable forms of ID required.

Request collection items that you wish to view in the Reading Room by ordering via the online catalogue:

Collection items should be requested online at least 48 hours in advance. There is online help during the order process and help available from the homepage of the catalogue. Reader Services Enquiries can also help or order on your behalf until you become familiar with online ordering.

You will not be able to borrow any items to take away from the Reading Room. You'll need to use the Interlending and Document Supply Service to make requests to borrow items.

British Library, London

The British Library in London welcomes researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs with a need to use their research collections.

From the Library's collection of over 150 million items you can view books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, patents, prints and drawings, music scores, sound recordings, photographs, book bindings or stamps.

To use the London Reading Rooms, you must first apply for a reader's pass:

British Library YouTube videos

The British Library have put together some videos with help on registering for a reader's pass and visiting the Reading Rooms.