Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

29 November 2023

Cyber incident update – last updated 18 December 2023

Service update

We’re continuing to experience a major technology outage following a cyber-attack affecting our website, online systems and services, and some onsite services. However our buildings are still open as usual. Wi-Fi is available again at both sites, and we can also take card payments onsite at St Pancras. We anticipate restoring more services in the next few weeks, but disruption to certain services is expected to persist for several months.

Last week the attackers released some of our data onto the dark web including some personal user information. We’ve contacted our users to alert them to this incident and to offer advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on how to protect themselves, including updating their passwords on other systems.

Because our systems are still unavailable, you can’t change the password for our services. However, if you use the same password for non-British Library services, we recommend that you change it as a precaution.

The NCSC provides guidance on staying secure online, including how to create a strong password, and specific guidance for individuals who may have been impacted by a data breach.

Analysing the data is likely to take several months. Should we find specific information has been compromised, we will alert anyone affected as soon as we can. We are continuing to collaborate with the Metropolitan Police and professional cybersecurity advisors, and are receiving support from the NCSC.

We’re really sorry for the ongoing disruption to our systems and services and we’ll provide further updates when we can.

What is currently available?

The Library’s buildings are open and the following services are available onsite:

  • Reading Rooms (for personal study)
  • Access to collection items that had been delivered for consultation in the Reading Rooms on or before 28 October; this excludes collection items that had been ordered in advance for consultation after 28 October
  • Access to collection items held on the open shelves in the Reading Rooms
  • Limited access to the collection items via manual ordering. The collection items available to order in our St Pancras Reading Rooms only include the general collection items stored at St Pancras (special collection items are not available). You can order these by completing the paper forms available in the Reading Rooms. You can consult the printed catalogues in the Reading Rooms, Jisc Library Hub Discover or WorldCat to find items in our collection, however, some may currently be unavailable
  • Reader Registration – we can only issue temporary passes. Anyone needing to renew or get a new Reader Pass should visit Reader Registration to be issued with a temporary pass, this includes anyone with an expired pass, those who have pre-registered online or new Readers.
  • Public Wi-Fi – available in most public spaces including the Reading Rooms, as well as our study desks and galleries at St Pancras (you won’t need a login)
  • Our onsite cafés, restaurant and shops, which accept both card and cash. You can also still access our online shop.

Anyone who has previously purchased tickets for our new exhibition, Fantasy: Realms of Imagination, can still use them. Exhibition tickets can now also be booked via See Tickets or bought onsite.

Our free exhibition, Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories, and our free Treasures Gallery at St Pancras are open as usual and no booking is required.

All of our upcoming public events and our St Pancras building tours are going ahead. Read our latest blog post about planned events for more information.

Our Family Station in St Pancras is open from 10.00–12.00 every Friday and we’re continuing to welcome schools, as well as families and adult learners to our courses and access events. Explore our educational offer on our school services blog.

Other services

Our Business & IP Centre (BIPC) in St Pancras is open as usual to support businesses but digital services accessed onsite are unavailable. You can find additional business support in BIPCs within regional and local libraries across the UK. Discover your local BIPC

You can also still join BIPC events and webinars and access one-to-one support. See what’s available at the British Library in St Pancras or online and in person via BIPCs in libraries across London.

If you would like to talk to us about a new or existing digitisation project, this service is currently unavailable but we’ll update our channels as we have more information to share. Thank you for your patience.

Contacting us

You can contact us by emailing [email protected]. We’ll do our best to answer your queries but please bear with us. This inbox is reviewed from 08.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. We’re experiencing a high volume of enquiries so it may take us some time to respond. We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

We’d like to thank all of our users and partners for your continued patience and understanding.

Getting to our sites

Use the following information to find us at our sites in London and Yorkshire:

British Library

96 Euston Rd

London NW1 2DB

Nearest rail and tube stations: King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston


British Library

Boston Spa

LS23 7BQ

Opening times

St Pancras building opening times

This includes our public spaces, our permanent Treasures Gallery and our Entrance Hall display space, with the exception of special event days, when these areas may close earlier.

 Monday             09.30 – 20.00

 Tuesday            09.30 – 20.00

 Wednesday       09.30 – 20.00

 Thursday           09.30 – 20.00 

 Friday                09.30 – 18.00

 Saturday            09.30 – 17.00

 Sunday              11.00 – 17.00

St Pancras Reading Rooms opening times

Monday              10.00 – 20.00 (Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies close at 17.00)

Tuesday              09.30 – 20.00 (Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies close at 17.00)

Wednesday        09.30 – 20.00 (Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies close at 17.00)

Thursday            09.30 – 20.00 (Maps, Manuscripts and Asian & African Studies close at 17.00)

Friday                 09.30 – 17.00

Saturday             09.30 – 17.00

Sunday               Closed

St Pancras Reader Registration opening times

Monday –Thursday     09.30 – 17.45

Friday                          09.30 – 16.15

Saturday                     09.30 – 16.45

St Pancras galleries opening times

This includes our temporary exhibitions in our PACCAR galleries.

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 09.30 – 18.00

Tuesday              09.30 – 20.00

Saturday             09.30 – 17.00

Sunday               11.00 – 17.00

St Pancras Members' Room

Monday to Thursday         09.30 – 20.00

Friday                                09.30 – 18.00

Saturday                           09.30 – 17.00

Sunday                              11.00 – 17.00

Refreshments available until 30 minutes before the room closes.

Boston Spa, Yorkshire Reading Room and Reader Registration opening times

Monday – Friday             09.00 – 16.30

Useful information

British Library social media channels

For the most up-to-date information follow us on:

X (formerly Twitter)



British Library events online

Catch up on our Living Knowledge Network events

British Library images, podcasts and videos


Images Online 



Research resources

To find information about items held in our collection

At the moment, we are only able to offer limited access to our general collection items held in St Pancras. They can be ordered manually via paper tickets in the Reading Rooms. To find out if an item is held in St Pancras, in Library Hub Discover’s Advanced Search you can limit your search to BL St Pancras in the Library section. You can then make a note of the shelfmark and bring it to the Library. However, not everything available in St Pancras can be ordered to a Reading Room at the moment. Please check with staff when you arrive.

To access some of our digitised content

  • Use Google Books to search a huge range of digitised content from our collection
  • Explore Artstor’s digital library.

To find content from our website

Local library services

Find out what your local library has to offer at LibraryOn.