However many times you’ve been to London, there’s always something new to see. Even thought UK’s national library is by no means new, last May was my first visit to the British Library.
The British Library is the world’s second largest library – the largest being the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
The British Library has been located at St Pancras since 1998. The other location is in West Yorkshire – Boston Spa.
The entrance has a shop for enthusiastic tourists.
To access the reading rooms you need a Reader Pass. For this, you must have an idea of the items you need to access. As I had no need to do any academic research, I was limited to exploring the areas open to the general public.
You can attend lectures, talks, courses and discussions for a fee. However, the exhibition Treasures of the British Library is free. You can find the Magna Carta or Leonardo Vinci’s notebook there. It’s a good idea to have a look at the library’s webpage before your visit to see what else is on.
The library has a collection of 150 million items. These are housed in 625 km of shelves.
As I wandered around I found the King’s Library Cafe. The name originates from the King’s Library which can be seen in the photos above and below. It is George III’s collection – amazing that it’s still intact – all 65 000 printed books and 19 000 pamphlets.
Eyeing the cafe’s offerings, I could not resist a cup of coffee and lemon cake.
Interesting fact: 16 000 people use the collections every day – this includes online access.
It could be a good idea to book a tour before your visit, in order to learn more about the history of the library and find out details on how everything there works. Tours can be booked on the British Library’s website.
As the weather was gorgeous outside, I couldn’t linger for too long.
Looking at these photos makes me long for late Spring!
Have you visited the British Library? Did you have a chance to visit a reading room?