British Library

Contact details


Customer Services Email: Tel:+44(0)1937 546060

Reference Enquiries Contact:

Newspapers Contact: Tel: +44(0)20 7412 7377

British Library

About the library

The British Library is the National Library of the United Kingdom. As a legal deposit library it receives a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland. The collection contains 150 million items, in most known languages and includes manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints, drawings, music scores and patents.

It is based at the St Pancras building, the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th Century. There are also sites in Boston Spa, which are specifically designed for document delivery services.

Library Hub Discover contains the British Library Integrated Catalogue. The records include several catalogues of reference materials which can be ordered to the London Reading Rooms for consultation:

  • Humanities & Social Sciences (1975 - )
  • Science, Technology & Business (1974 - )
  • Retrospective (Pre 1975)
  • Printed Music
  • Cartographic

As well as catalogues of document supply materials held at the Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa:

  • Journals (1700 - )
  • Books
  • Conference Proceedings (1800 - )
  • UK theses

For details of how to access the map collection, please see British Library map collection.

The British Library catalogues are available online.

Several British Library departments also contribute to the Archives Hub. To browse descriptions of their archive materials, visit the Archives Hub repositories page.

British Library inter-library loan codes

Document Supply Service library code


For an explanation of these codes, and for more information on arranging inter-library loans, see the inter-library loans page on the British Library website.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availability on Library Hub Discover? No.

Can I obtain items via inter-library loan? Most of the items from the Document Supply Centre in Boston Spa are available for inter-library loan. You have to request an inter-library loan via a library of which you are a member. Talk to your own library staff about whether they think the document you need is likely to be available for loan and for advice on making an inter-library loan request.

Items held in the London Reading Room are generally not available for inter-library loan.

If you wish to obtain a journal article you may be able to obtain a copy directly via the British Library's Imaging Service.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes - see the library's website for access details. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance, to ensure that they can accommodate you and that the material you need will be available.


St Pancras

Boston Spa

Browse all of the British Library's records in Library Hub Discover here.