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Access to the British Library


Staff and students wishing to use the British Library should be aware that:

  • the British Library is the national library of last resort and does not support research in the early stages of a course
  • material in the humanities and special collections is closed access and items will take a minimum of one hour to be retrieved
  • the collections are for reference only
  • items may be held off-site and will need to be ordered 48 hours in advance of a visit
  • last orders for delivery of on-site closed access material must be placed before 16:00 in order to receive the item that day
  • the British Library does not hold multiple copies of core texts
  • check the British Library website before you visit for opening hours and any temporary restrictions

Applying for a reader's pass

Staff and students wishing to access the British Library's Reading Rooms need to Apply for a British Library Reader's Pass before visiting and ordering items.

We advise University members to take their University of Reading Campus/Library Card with them as well as proofs of signature and address when applying.

Further information

You can also email British Library reader-admissions direct;