British Library

British Library We’re the UK’s national library, working to restore our services following a cyber-attack. Need help? Contact [email protected]
(16988)

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest libraries. We hold over 13 million books, 920,000 journal and newspaper titles, 57 million patents and 3 million sound recordings. Open to everyone, the Library offers events, temporary exhibitions and a Treasures Gallery that displays over 200 items, including Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible and lyrics by The Beatles.

The ice was here, the ice was there,The ice was all around:It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,Like noises in ...
16/04/2024

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s supernatural epic, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, follows the perils that befall a mariner and his crew after he shoots an albatross, and may have been inspired by James Cook’s polar expeditions, and that of other explorers of the time.

First reviews of Coleridge's haunting poem found the style and content bewildering – he used archaic spellings, obsolete words, and an often inverted word order apparently driven by the need to achieve rhymes. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the only poem on which Coleridge continued to work – and unarguably improve – until shortly before his death.

The vivid landscapes captured in Coleridge's lyrical verses inspired some of the greatest book illustrators – like the French artist Gustave Doré who used extreme tones of dark and light to emphasise the dramatic aspects of the work.

📝 Manuscript draft of The AncIent Mariner, Add 47508
✏️ The AncIent Mariner illustrations by Gustave Doré, 1875.b.5

Once againDo I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,That on a wild secluded scene impressThoughts of more deep seclusion;...
15/04/2024

Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky...

Delve deeper into Wordsworth's work in our podcast series celebrating the Romantic poet: https://bit.ly/BLWordsworthPodcast

🖼️ Four Views of Tintern Abbey by Frederick Calbert, 1815. Maps.K.top.31.16.k.2.

We’ve made improvements to our Reader Registration system so we can now issue photographic passes again. Anyone with a p...
11/04/2024

We’ve made improvements to our Reader Registration system so we can now issue photographic passes again. Anyone with a photographic pass will be able to order collection items in our Reading Rooms.

If you’ve been issued a white temporary paper pass recently and need to access collection items you can now return to Reader Registration and exchange this for a photographic pass. You’ll need to bring identification and visit us on site in London or Yorkshire to get your Reader Pass.

Find out more: bl.uk/research

Do you believe in unicorns? 🦄The legendary animal’s single horn was thought to have great healing powers, with Henry VII...
09/04/2024

Do you believe in unicorns? 🦄

The legendary animal’s single horn was thought to have great healing powers, with Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James I all invested in its medicinal properties.

See more of Henry's unicorn recipes: https://bit.ly/BLBlogUnicorns

04/04/2024

We’ve been given the opportunity to acquire a number of exceptionally rare printed books, several of which aren’t currently in any UK institutions 📚

We’ve got until 7 April to raise £85,000 ($108,650) to secure these incredible items and make them available to everyone. A donation today could help us expand our historical children’s book collection with the wonderfully witty and incredibly rare 19th-century book The Good Boy’s Soliloquy. The race is on!

Thank you so much to our partners, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and The American Trust for the British Library, for helping make this exciting campaign possible. We’re delighted to be the featured library for ABAA Connect at this year’s New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, organised by Sandford L. Smith + Associates.

Donate today and find out more: https://bit.ly/BLAcquisitionAppeal

Were you a fan of nonsenses (or limericks as they're more commonly known!) when you were growing up? We challenge you to...
03/04/2024

Were you a fan of nonsenses (or limericks as they're more commonly known!) when you were growing up?

We challenge you to write your own 'nonsense' in the style of Edward Lear!

📖 A Book of Nonsense, Edward Lear. 12332.dd.1

Happy  ! 📚What was your favourite book growing up? ✏️  Illustration by John Tenniel from The Nursery Alice, 1890 by Lewi...
02/04/2024

Happy ! 📚

What was your favourite book growing up?

✏️ Illustration by John Tenniel from The Nursery Alice, 1890 by Lewis Carroll. Cup.410.g.74

Happy  ! 🎭If you could watch any play on stage right now, what would it be and which theatre would it be performed in? ✏...
27/03/2024

Happy ! 🎭

If you could watch any play on stage right now, what would it be and which theatre would it be performed in?

✏️ Fêtes galantes, illustrations de George Barbier. L.45/2847

26/03/2024

Mark your calendars – there’s one month until Beyond the Bassline: 500 Years of Black British Music opens! 🎼

Travel from royal courts all the way to cyberspace through artworks, soundscapes and archival footage: https://bit.ly/BLBeyondTheBassline

Happy  ! It’s officially the first day of spring – here’s to warmer, brighter days ☀️ What are you most looking forward ...
20/03/2024

Happy ! It’s officially the first day of spring – here’s to warmer, brighter days ☀️

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

✏️ L'Atmosphère. Météorologie populaire, etc. by Camille Flammarion, 8755.k.13

As Spring draws near, we're looking forward to seeing butterflies fluttering, the morning birdsong, and squirrels runnin...
18/03/2024

As Spring draws near, we're looking forward to seeing butterflies fluttering, the morning birdsong, and squirrels running along treetops. What does your garden look like today?

📕 Episodes of Insect Life by Acheta Domestica (c.1849). C.109.c.4

Congratulations to Sveta Dorosheva for winning a Communication Arts Illustration award!Thanks Sveta for creating the epi...
15/03/2024

Congratulations to Sveta Dorosheva for winning a Communication Arts Illustration award!

Thanks Sveta for creating the epic artwork for our Fantasy: Realms of Imagination exhibition.

Drawn by hand, Sveta wove in creatures of myth, folklore and fantasy characters from literature, from Gollum to Princess Mononoke. Her artwork graced our foyer, shop, exhibition book cover, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Read more: https://bit.ly/BLBlogSveta

Did you know that one of the most prominent composers of the early 20th century was also a suffragette? Dame Ethel Smyth...
11/03/2024

Did you know that one of the most prominent composers of the early 20th century was also a suffragette?

Dame Ethel Smyth received great acclaim for her music and work during her life, with operas including The Wreckers and Fête Galante.

Ethel wasn't one to sit on the sidelines, and throughout her life fought for women’s rights, with her song, The March of the Women, becoming an anthem for the suffrage movement.

Learn more about her legacy this : https://bit.ly/BLEthelSmyth

Ethel Smyth in 1927. NPG x18838 © National Portrait Gallery, London
The Wreckers, Act 3, (1906). Add MS 68895

Today we’ve published a paper about the cyber-attack that took place last October.Its goal is to share our understanding...
08/03/2024

Today we’ve published a paper about the cyber-attack that took place last October.

Its goal is to share our understanding of what happened and to help others learn from our experience.

You can read the paper on our website, and hear from our CEO, Sir Roly Keating, in this accompanying blog post: https://bit.ly/BLCyberBlogMar

What one book changed your life and do you think must be read by all humankind? 📖
07/03/2024

What one book changed your life and do you think must be read by all humankind? 📖

'Books are the mirrors of the soul'— Virginia WoolfHappy  ! 📚
07/03/2024

'Books are the mirrors of the soul'
— Virginia Woolf

Happy ! 📚

This   why not give a gift that celebrates their love of reading? 📚From Little Women to Pride and Prejudice, delight a l...
04/03/2024

This why not give a gift that celebrates their love of reading? 📚

From Little Women to Pride and Prejudice, delight a loved one with a gift that supports the Library now and in the future. By adopting a book in their name, you’ll help us preserve our collection for the next generation of book lovers.

Pick from our list of classic titles to adopt: https://bit.ly/BLAdoptABook

I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o'er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden da...
01/03/2024

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze...

Did you know the daffodil is the birth flower for March? We love this bouquet of flowers for spring – also perfect for marking St David's Day!

🌼 Elisa Champin, N.Tab.2004/11

Beyond the Bassline: 500 Years of Black British Music is now on sale.Our latest exhibition traces a map through the plac...
27/02/2024

Beyond the Bassline: 500 Years of Black British Music is now on sale.

Our latest exhibition traces a map through the places where Black British music was born and the layered Black experiences that have birthed a thriving musical culture and history. Explore over 200 exhibits in the first major exhibition of its kind anywhere in the world as you journey through an ever-evolving and ever-expanding history: https://bit.ly/BLBeyondTheBassline

Plus with our Beyond the Bassline events including live music, talks, performances and Lates, we’ll be turning up the volume on some of the trailblazers of Black music in Britain. Grab your spot now and stay tuned as we add even more events to the mix: https://bit.ly/BLEventsTickets

We’re now able to share a list of the improvements and restoration of service you’re likely to see between now and July,...
22/02/2024

We’re now able to share a list of the improvements and restoration of service you’re likely to see between now and July, including access to more Library content and changes to Reader Registration so that everyone can access our collection.

You can read more about this in a new blog from our CEO, Sir Roly Keating: https://bit.ly/BLServicesBlogFeb22

From Angela Carter’s dark transformation of Charles Perrault’s classic tales in The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, to...
22/02/2024

From Angela Carter’s dark transformation of Charles Perrault’s classic tales in The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, to Stephen Sondheim giving centre stage to the consequences of fairy-tale decisions in his musical Into the Woods, the world of fantasy is as rich with new ideas as it is with electrifying adaptations of old stories.

What’s your favourite retelling? 📚

📖 Grimm's Fairy Tales. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. 12410.r.7.

In the world of fantasy, knowledge of a name often grants power over the thing itself. Learning Rumpelstiltskin’s name s...
21/02/2024

In the world of fantasy, knowledge of a name often grants power over the thing itself. Learning Rumpelstiltskin’s name saves a queen from losing her first-born in the Brothers Grimm’s Children's and Household Tales (1812). Ged’s naming of the Dragon of Pendor saves the people of the Archipelago from the threat of dragons in Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea (1968). Rediscovering her own name allowed Chihiro to remember who she was before she became stuck in a world of spirits in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001). By stealing the second kanji of Chihiro’s name (‘a thousand questions’), Yubaba altered Chihiro’s name to become Sen, meaning ‘thousand’, causing the 10-year-old girl to lose her curiosity.

What’s your favourite use of a ‘true name’?

📗The Fairy Book by Dinah Maria Craik. 12410.s.5. Illustrated by Warwick Goble

Whether on stage or screen, costume has always been key in transporting us to fantastical worlds, introducing audiences ...
20/02/2024

Whether on stage or screen, costume has always been key in transporting us to fantastical worlds, introducing audiences to other-worldly characters.

These wonders from Royal Opera House transformed Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev into Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund in The Royal Ballet’s 1968 production of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, and are on display in our Fantasy: Realms of Imagination exhibition.

Photography credit: Leslie E. Spatt / ArenaPAL.

Don’t miss your chance to explore how a library-loving girl grew into one of the UK’s most popular authors and how her e...
19/02/2024

Don’t miss your chance to explore how a library-loving girl grew into one of the UK’s most popular authors and how her enthralling books shine a light on different ways of seeing the world.

Our free exhibition Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories is open until 25 February: https://bit.ly/BLMalorieTickets

What’s your favourite romantic line from literature? 🥰
15/02/2024

What’s your favourite romantic line from literature? 🥰

Young hearts, run free… 💘Happy Valentine’s Day!📜 Stowe 955, f.13
14/02/2024

Young hearts, run free… 💘

Happy Valentine’s Day!

📜 Stowe 955, f.13

You can read our latest update about our ongoing recovery from last year’s cyber-attack in a new blog from our CEO, Sir ...
09/02/2024

You can read our latest update about our ongoing recovery from last year’s cyber-attack in a new blog from our CEO, Sir Roly Keating.

We’re going to be restoring as many services as we can within the coming months, in particular improving access to collection items held in Boston Spa and to our digital collection.

We’ll release an indicative timeline later this month for when some key services will be restored: https://bit.ly/BLServicesBlogFeb

You’ll know this creature, but you might not recognise him here.Gollum wasn’t always the ‘small slimy creature’ we know ...
07/02/2024

You’ll know this creature, but you might not recognise him here.

Gollum wasn’t always the ‘small slimy creature’ we know now – in 1962, Tove Jansson illustrated him as a much bigger (still slimy!) creature, which apparently caused Tolkien to add the word ‘small’ to later editions.

Discover more fantastical creatures in Fantasy: Realms of Imagination. Open until 25 February: https://bit.ly/BLFantasyTickets

Image from Bilbo: En Hobbit's Aventyr. ©️ Tove Jansson Estate (1962)

There’s still time to step through the Library gates into fantastical worlds in our ★★★★★ (The Telegraph) exhibition Fan...
05/02/2024

There’s still time to step through the Library gates into fantastical worlds in our ★★★★★ (The Telegraph) exhibition Fantasy: Realms of Imagination.

Gather your fellow adventurers and explore the lands, languages and creatures of some of the finest fantasy creators before 25 February: bit.ly/BLFantasyTickets

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination is supported by Wayland Games Limited and Unwin Charitable Trust.

https://bit.ly/FBWayland
https://bit.ly/FBUnwin

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,Great Chieftain o' the Puddin-race!Wishing you a happy  !
25/01/2024

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o' the Puddin-race!

Wishing you a happy !

23/01/2024

Using our online catalogue is a bit different at the moment.

Watch this short guide to learn how to search for an item, and place an order in our Reading Rooms.

If you need any help, just let us know.

Today we’ve released a searchable online version of our main catalogue, which contains records of the majority of our pr...
15/01/2024

Today we’ve released a searchable online version of our main catalogue, which contains records of the majority of our printed collections as well as some freely available online resources. We have also expanded the range of items that can be accessed in our Reading Rooms at St Pancras, including the majority of our special collections.

Advance online ordering is not currently available so you will need to come onsite to order the items you need via a manual process in the Reading Rooms. If you need to confirm the availability of a particular item in advance of your visit you can email our Reference Services team.

To find out more about searching for and ordering collection items at the moment, please visit our website: bl.uk/research

On Monday, we will take a major first step in the restoration of our services for Readers and researchers.  Our Chief Ex...
10/01/2024

On Monday, we will take a major first step in the restoration of our services for Readers and researchers. Our Chief Executive, Sir Roly Keating, shares more details in a new blog: https://bit.ly/BLRolyStatementJan

Wishing you all a happy and hopeful 2024, from everyone at the British Library ✨
02/01/2024

Wishing you all a happy and hopeful 2024, from everyone at the British Library ✨

We’re taking a break from social media for the festive period, which means our channels won't be actively monitored unti...
22/12/2023

We’re taking a break from social media for the festive period, which means our channels won't be actively monitored until 28 December – see you after a mince pie (or two!) 🎅🎄

If you need to contact us, please email [email protected] and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

21/12/2023

Season’s greetings from us all at the British Library ❄️

Thank you for all your support and helping us celebrate our 50th birthday this year.

We’ve expanded our temporary website, where you’ll now be able to find more information about our available services, ho...
20/12/2023

We’ve expanded our temporary website, where you’ll now be able to find more information about our available services, how to visit us over the next few weeks, and our seasonal opening hours, at http://bl.uk

“The people responsible for this cyber-attack stand against everything that libraries represent: openness, empowerment, ...
15/12/2023

“The people responsible for this cyber-attack stand against everything that libraries represent: openness, empowerment, and access to knowledge.”
— Sir Roly Keating

Our CEO Sir Roly Keating shares more information on the recent cyber-attack and its impact, and sets out our plans for restoring further services in the new year: https://bit.ly/BLRolyStatement

We’re continuing to experience a major technology outage following a cyber-attack, affecting our website, online systems...
08/12/2023

We’re continuing to experience a major technology outage following a cyber-attack, affecting our website, online systems and services, and some onsite services including our Reading Rooms.

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: http://bit.ly/BLNCSC

Analysing the data is likely to take several months. Should we find specific information has been compromised we will alert the people affected as soon as we can. We are continuing to collaborate with the Metropolitan Police and professional cyber security advisors and are receiving additional 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.

Our sites in London and Yorkshire are open as normal, and details of our services, exhibitions and events can be found on our temporary webpage: http://bl.uk as well as resources on our blog: http://bit.ly/BLCyberUpdateDec

We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging period, following the major technolog...
01/12/2023

We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging period, following the major technology outage caused by a cyber-attack – it is much appreciated.

We’re working as quickly as possible to safely restore our services, both onsite and online. Our buildings remain fully open, with tickets available for our exhibitions Fantasy: Realms of Imagination and Malorie Blackman: The Power of Stories. Wi-Fi is available at both sites, and we can take card payments onsite at St Pancras. We’re actively updating our blog with alternative research resources as they become available: https://bit.ly/BLCyberUpdateDec

We’re continuing to work closely with cybersecurity specialists to examine the extent of the cyber-attack and will provide regular updates. The NCSC offers valuable advice on maintaining online security: https://bit.ly/BLNCSC

Thank you for your ongoing support. We’ll share further updates as soon as we can.

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96 Euston Road
London
NW12

Opening Hours

Monday 9:30am - 6pm
Tuesday 9:30am - 6pm
Wednesday 9:30am - 7:30pm
Thursday 9:30am - 7:30pm
Friday 9:30am - 6pm
Saturday 9:30am - 5pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm

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