Accessibility statement

British Library

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

British Library, Boston Spa

The British Library at Boston Spa has a Reading Room which is open to the public. It allows direct access to a vast collection of British Library items in print and electronci formats. We provide a free weekly minibus service to the Reading Room for University of York staff and students.

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.

All seats must be pre-booked online no later than one week before your visit.

Book a seat on our free minibus service

Help with bookings and requests

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

  • Email us via LibAnswers
  • Visit the Library Help Desk, Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
  • Phone Interlending and Document Supply:
    +44 (0)1904 323876

British Library Reader Pass

You do not need to book a study space in the Boston Spa Reading Room, but you will need a full British Library Reader Pass (a photo-pass) to gain access to the Reading Room.

We recommend pre-registering before your visit to speed up the registration process, and then completing it in person when you arrive; this will also allow you to pre-order physical items from the collection.

Please ensure that the correct ID is brought. Full details of what you need to bring with you can be found on the BL website.

To pre-register, follow the Pre-Register Online steps here: https://www.bl.uk/help/how-to-get-a-reader-pass

If you already hold a British Library Reader Pass but it has expired, you will need to renew this in person on your first visit. Please make sure you know your login details before your visit.

Requesting physical material to use in the Reading Room

If you wish to consult physical material from the collections in the Reading Room, these must be requested online in advance of your visit. Request items via the BL online catalogue: Explore the British Library

Collection items should be requested online at least 48 hours in advance.

There is a daily limit of 10 items, and you do not need to pre-order any electronic material.

You will not be able to borrow any items to take away from the Reading Room.

If you do not have a Reader Pass, please pre-register online. Once you have an online account, you can request material.

If you need to renew your Reader pass, follow the "How to extend your online account" steps. Then follow the pre-registration steps to request material.

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: