The British Library, originally part of the British Museum, has over 150 million items: books, magazines, manuscripts, videos, prints, drawings and music recordings. It is the national library of the UK and the largest library in the world by total item count.
Its foundation collections, begun in the 1700s with items dating back even further, were not united under one roof until 1997. The Reading Rooms for its various collections are known world-wide as free points of access to almost all of the world's knowledge.
Besides the 14 million books, there are many historical items, such as the world's oldest printed book from the year 868, two Gutenberg Bibles, two copies of the original Magna Carta and one of the original notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.
Show a proof of signature and permanent address to get a Reader Pass that gives you access to just about everything in the vast collections. The goal of the British Library is to provide access to knowledge for the betterment of society. Take advantage of this opportunity.
The exhibitions and the shop open up every day Monday through Saturday at 9:30 AM; the Reading Rooms open at 9:30 AM Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 10 AM on Mondays. On Sundays and English Public Holidays, the Reading Rooms are closed and the exhibitions and shop open at 11 AM.
The exhibitions and shop close at 6 PM on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, at 8 PM on Tuesday and at 5 PM on Sunday and English Public Holidays.
Most of the Reading Rooms close at 5 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 8 pm on all other days; certain Reading Rooms, however, always close at 5 PM.
The street address of the British Library is 96 Euston Road, London, United Kingdom. It is adjacent to the St Pancras International and King's Cross transport stations used by the London Underground and by many rail lines. There are also many bus stops along Euston Road and nearby Midland Road.