British Library

Contact details


St Pancras Email: Tel: 0207 412 7676

Newspapers Email: Tel: 0207 412 7353

Boston Spa Email: Tel: 01937 546 070

photo of the British Library

Image copyright: the 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 includes 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 is specifically designed for document delivery services

Copac 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.

Copac also contains the Register of Preservation Surrogates.

The local library catalogues are available online.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availablility on Copac? No

Can I obtain items via Inter-library Loan?

  • Most of the items from the Document Supply Centre, 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.

To check the location of a document select the Holding Library name in the Copac Full Record display.
Alternatively, 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 - visit the library's web site for access details. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance to ensure the material you need will be available.


St Pancras

Boston Spa

British Library on Copac

Example record from the British Library collections:

"Claudii Ptolemaei Pelusiensis Geographiae libri octo; Groece; tabulis geographicis, sive partibus earum septuaginta octo illustrati." [From: Catalogue of Mss. in the British Museum, New series, 1840, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 45]. A very fine manuscript on vellum, written apparently in the latter part of the fourteenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century ca. 1380-1420.
  Published: ca. 1380-1420

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.