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About the British Museum Library

The British Museum Library is a reference collection of over 335,000 titles dedicated to the research of human cultures – past and present – across the globe.

The library collection is organized in the study spaces of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, AsiaBritain, Europe and Prehistory (including Horology), Coins and MedalsEgypt and SudanGreece and RomeMiddle EastPrints and Drawings and Conservation and Scientific Research.

Plan your visit:

Check the library catalogue on this page by using either the 'Search' or 'Advanced Search' functions, and send a list of materials you wish to consult to Library@britishmuseum.org by providing the following information:

- title
- author
- ISBN or barcode
- item type
- collection
- call number

Please allow 
two weeks
 for staff to check the list and provide research advice and confirmation of a consultation appointment. 

If your research is focused on materials in study spaces other than the Anthropology Library & Research Centre, we require up to one month’s appointment notice.

When registering for the first time please bring photo identification (e.g., a driving licence or passport).

Please note that at the moment the library space utilizes a public wifi network for patrons that is not WPA2 encrypted. This is the same public network you would access throughout the British Museum.

Reservations for staff & RAI:

The library has re-implemented a request system via the library catalogue. Sign into your library account and search the catalogue. Reserve one or more items by using the check boxes to the left of the record in search results, or by creating a custom list. For both options, simply click the 'place a reservation' button in the toolbar and enter the relevant information in the notes box before clicking 'confirm'. 
You can check your reservations by clicking on your username → 'Your account' → and, on the 'Your summary' page, by clicking on the 'Reservations' tab.
The two week retrieval period still applies. 

Request new material: 

British Museum staff can request new materials by logging into their account and navigating to their account/user/summary page. There they will be able to find the link to our acquisitions form. This form is also available via the staff intranet. 

How to get here: 

The main library enquiry desk is in the Anthropology Library and Research Centre (ALRC) on level -1 below the North Stairs (PDF map, 297KB). 

Opening hours:  10.00-17.00Monday–Wednesday, Friday

EBSCO Discovery Service:

Explore our new discovery service with EBSCO. This service provides a greater scope for your research and includes all items from the catalogue at the BM Library.***
Access the Discovery Service

For instructions on how to use the Discovery Service, click the link below:
Discovery Service quick guide
(PDF file, 332KB)

BM Staff & RAI:
Access our Digital Resources


    • Anthropology Plus
    • British Newspaper Archive
    • Early Modern Books
    • Ebook Central
    • JSTOR for Museums
    • Oxford Egyptological Bibliography
    • Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology
    • Trismegistos
    • UCL Press Books and Journals
    • And more!

Be sure to also check out the British Museum Research Repository for open access publications produced by the researchers across the museum.

If you are having trouble accessing our digital resources, please contact us at library@britishmuseum.org

***NOTE: The Discovery Service is not the same as the library catalogue. It may return results we do not currently subscribe to or have access to.