We arrived shortly after 10am and collected our reader passes and locker keys. You are only allowed to take a pencil and notebook into the reading room, so we had to leave our bags in the lockers. Some people had brought their laptops, which can be done by pre-arrangement.
When we went into the lovely peaceful reading room there were our piles of pre-ordered books and journals waiting for us. It is also possible to order more items on the day but they only go down 3-4 times to collect other items, so this needs to be kept in mind when you plan your trip.You can pre-order up to 16 items by checking the British Library catalogue:
You need to pick items with a "Document Supply" shelfmark - other material may be in London at St. Pancras.
We worked through until 12.30 when most of us went off to the nearby restaurant and had lasagne, chips and garlic bread for £1.75!!! There were vegetarian options too. They also did puddings with custard, sandwiches, biscuits, cold and hot drinks. My coffee was only 75p. What a bargain! There is a card system for paying for lunch. Everyone was most impressed with the catering. You could pop in and out for drinks etc. but the smokers had a short walk to a nearby smoking shelter!
We all finished our research day and handed our books back just before 4pm as the reading room was closing and got back on the bus. We were back in Sheffield for 5.30pm. All in all an excellent experience and everyone enjoyed it- especially the peace and tranquillity and opportunity to concentrate away from email and interruptions.
Did you know that the Library runs a free minibus trip once per month - on the first Tuesday of the month? You can book onto it and pre-order your readings through the Library. For more information see our page here:
It is also possible to visit the British Library at Boston Spa under your own steam. If you have a car you can drive to Wetherby. Perhaps you could team up with some other researchers and share driving and petrol costs. If you need to use public transport you can get there by going to Leeds on the train from Sheffield and there is a local bus from Leeds to the British Library at Boston Spa. For more information on visiting the Boston Spa Reading Room have a look at the British Library webpages here:
We hope after this more researchers in the Faculty of Arts will use the Library minibus service.