Knowledge Matters blog

Behind the scenes at the British Library

01 May 2024

Helping your research – 1 May 2024

Our teams have been working since last year’s cyber-attack to find ways to restore access to as much of our collection as possible, while ensuring that we do so in a way that is secure, safe and resilient. We’ve recently made some improvements to our services that we hope will make researching here a little easier.

We know the past months have been frustrating and we really appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to restore all our services. We’ll share more on upcoming improvements as soon as we can.

Reading Room

It’s now easier to get a Reader Pass

We’re now able to issue photographic passes again, and these will last for one year. The pass will allow you to use our Reading Rooms for personal study, use our free Wi-Fi, access items on the shelves and order collection items to consult. This means anyone with a Reader Pass can order collection items in the Reading Rooms.

If you have previously been issued with a temporary paper pass, you will need to revisit Reader Registration onsite to exchange it for a photographic pass. You must bring identification with you when you visit Reader Registration. Find out more about getting your Reader Pass.

You can access more of our collection

We’ve restarted the transfer of collection items between our two sites, which has expanded the range of collection materials available for Readers to order.

You can use our online catalogue to identify the items you need and their location, but please check their availability before visiting the Reading Rooms by contacting our Reference Services team. You’ll still need to visit in person and complete paper forms to order collection items at the moment. Find out more about how to use our collection right now.

Hands with manuscript.

View digitised collections on the history of the Silk Road

The International Dunhuang Programme (IDP) is celebrating its 30th birthday with a brand new website boasting improvements designed with researchers in mind.

Bring the history of the Silk Road to life through digitised collection items, information about manuscripts, printed materials, photographs and other resources. Explore the website.

Need some help?

If you want to check if an item is available, need advice navigating our collection or aren’t sure how to start, our Reference team is here to help, whether you have a Reader Pass or not. Message our team and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.