Newest Review: ... a student in London, or anywhere in the UK, you should definitely check out the British Library, It is pretty impressive. However the C... more
Great Place to work if you don't mind rules...lots of rules
Member Name: Nigh
Advantages: One of the biggest collections of Lit in the world - really great working environment
Disadvantages: Pretty irritating rules and regulations, can be a pain to get membership, cafe is extortionate
The British Library is one of the only three copyright libraries in the UK, meaning that it houses, along with the Bodleian Library (Oxford) and Cambridge University Library, every book ever published in the UK, and most others too. This means that it really is a great resource, especially if you are a student researching for a paper or even a PHD thesis. There are resources in this library that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world, which means that it is understandable that they have a few ground rules about how you can go about using the library, which can make a visit there a little irritating, but in the end probably worth it.
You cannot really take anything into the library with you, no pens, no drinks or food of any kind, no bags, coats or much else really. If you want to make notes in the library you have to either take a pencil or you can also bring a laptop.
Everything you own has to go into lockers in the basement, and then you can carry anything you need with you in sturdy plastic bags provided.
If you need a book, then most of them aren't on the shelves, you have to order them online which can be a little confusing but you get the hang of it eventually. Most books are available to collect within an hour or so, but some can take up to 48 hours, which can be a pain if the essay you need to write is in sooner than that, which is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
Although probably should have come firstly.
Getting a membership card can sometimes be a pain, but as long as you bring two separate forms of ID, one with your signature and one with your address with you, and you have already registered on line, it shouldn't be a problem...it wasn't for me.
- so -
Once all these little hurdles are out of the way, you are free to enjoy one of the most magnificent collections of literature in the world; and it really is pretty impressive. The building is state of the art and they often have lots of exhibitions for you to check out if work is getting you down a bit. Despite the annoyances, it really is worth the effort, since the library itself is one of the quietest and most serene working environments I have been in, nobody dare talk for fear of incurring the wrath of the librarian/security guards that patrol the reading rooms (who will also confiscate any pens they catch you with).
If your a student in London, or anywhere in the UK, you should definitely check out the British Library, It is pretty impressive. However the Cafe is an absolute Rip off! Stay clear!
Summary: One hell of a library!!