During the month of July (2016) I spent two weeks researching at the British Library (BL); the St Pancras branch which is located at 96 Euston Road, London. My experience of researching here was extremely positive – it’s a state of the art facility and the library staff are professional, helpful and friendly. Since my reader’s pass expired in 2013 I first needed to visit Reader Registration (on the ground floor) to renew my pass. This is a straightforward process, however expect it to be busy. On arriving at the desk you are asked for the required documentation (see website http://www.bl.uk/). Provided all is in order, you are then directed to one of the PCs to fill in an online form and receive your number in the queue. Once you go through the registration/renewal process the assistant will issue your new card. Coats and bags are not allowed in the Reading Rooms; lockers, which require a £1 coin, are provided on the lower ground floor.
I was researching in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room located on the first floor. To order items you must register online via the ‘Explore the British Library’ page. Once you have your reader’s pass you can order in advance of your visit online. You can track the progress of your order by clicking on ‘My Reader Requests ‘and orders take up to 70 minutes to arrive to the reading room. You can order up to 10 items each day, however you will only be issued 6 items at a time. Up to 6 items can also be held over until the next day. The Rare Books and Music Reading Room is well equipped; despite the large number of desks available to readers it is best to get there early to ensure your seat. The reading room times are listed on the library’s website (http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/quickinfo/loc/stp/opening/index.html). Each desk has a reading lamp, wi-fi is available onsite and there are three cafés, a restaurant and coffee dock onsite. The shop is also worth a visit whether looking for an interesting book or a souvenir!