Westminster Reference Library

located in 35 St. Martin’s Street, London, WC2H 7HP.

The library is hidden behind The National Gallery, London. I started to visit this library several years ago. During my visits, it is always quiet and cosy.

 Library Info

There are 3 floors. On each floor, apart from the normal shelves and communal PCs, there are stairs leading to an upper-level area where you can find chairs and empty desks for reading using your own laptop.

The process of applying for a library card is easy: showing a photo ID and proof of address and filling a short form. The Westminster Library Card will enable you to borrow and return books from any Westminster libraries, additionally, the staff told me that the system will be upgraded so people can use the same card in most all the public libraries in London.

The only drawback of this library is I feel that it is not very well-ventilated.


The British Library

is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest library in the world by the number of items catalogued.

It is definitely worth visiting but finding a book without knowing enough details may not be easy.

A Reader Pass would be required for entering the reading room, and register for it is not as easy as to sign up a normal library card.

Firstly, the opening time for registration office is not as long as the previous library.



You are not only required to provide a photo ID and a proof of address but also need to state your research area, as the staff told me it is not feasible to browse in such a big library without knowing what you want exactly.

On the day of my visit, there was a long queue in front of the registration office. After seeing the receptionist, I had to fill up a form on a PC to acquire a number and wait to be called.

After almost an hour of waiting in total, I finally have my reader pass.

However, it is only valid for a year.

Overall, I would definitely recommend people to visit the British Library for leisure, but for borrowing books, it would be wise to try out your local library or university’s library first.