Frequently asked questions

1. How do I make a donation?

It’s easy to give a gift: simply click the “Donate” button and follow the simple step-by-step process.

2. How do I donate my book to the British Library?

Go to the Library’s contact list and choose the appropriate department. For example, if your book is about the history of Poland, you would contact East European Collections. A relevant member of staff will help you. If you require further information, you can contact Customer Services at +44 (0)1937 546060 or and you will be directed to the relevant department.

3. How do I see the book I adopted?

You can register for a Readers Pass and view the book in one of our Reading Rooms. Due to pressure on our services we cannot guarantee admission. There is a strict process for registration and delivery times are between 70 minutes to 48 hours. There may be a chance that the book is in use by a Reader, so planning ahead is advised. Note that children under the age of 18 are not allowed in the Reading Rooms.

For details, visit Registering for a Readers Pass. You will need to contact the Development Office to obtain the book’s shelfmark to order the book.

For a bespoke adoption of £1,000 or more, we can organise a tour of the Centre for Conservation and an opportunity to see your book. Please contact the Development Office to discuss these special opportunities.

4. The list for books to adopt used to be longer. What happened to the other choices?

Of the hundreds of books that were available in the past, only a small number were adopted. Given the richness of the Library’s collection, we are keen to feature a wide variety of books, spanning different genres and publishing periods. The booklist now contains 30-50 books and will be frequently updated, allowing you to view new books on a regular basis together with perennial favourites.

If you would like to suggest a book for adoption, please email

5. Does my Adopt a Book donation go towards conserving the specific book I adopted?
Your generous donation supports our conservation programme as a whole. The books on the list are conserved, however there are many other books which don’t have such a wide appeal and are equally in need of conservation. Thus your contribution enables the Library to continue its vital conservation programme, conserving a wide range of books for future generations

6. What is the British Library’s charity registration number?

The British Library is a charity exempt from registration and so does not have a charity registration number. 

7. How can I make my gift tax-effective? 

If you are a UK tax-payer, your gift can be eligible for Gift Aid. This allows the British Library to increase the value of your contribution, at no extra cost to you, by claiming basic rate tax relief on your gift. Higher rate taxpayers can benefit by reclaiming the difference between the higher and basic rates of tax. For other forms of tax-effective giving, such as legacies or giving a gift of stocks or shares, please contact the Development team.

8. Can I leave a gift in my Will to the British Library? 

Yes, many supporters choose to leave a legacy. Your gift will have the greatest impact if you do not restrict its use but we would be happy to discuss your wishes with you. Please contact the Development team for further information.

9. I’d like to adopt a book but would like to give more than £150. Is this possible? 

Yes, it’s easy to give more: simply add another donation as you progress through the payment process.  

10. What is the difference between the £30 and £150 Adopt a Book giving level?

The difference is simply the level of giving you want to contribute towards our Conservation programme. In both cases, we will send the beneficiary of your gift a customised e-certificate in grateful recognition of your generosity. In addition, we will send donors giving £150 a voucher for a public tour of the British Library.

11. Do I get a discount in the British Library Shop? 

British Library Patrons are entitled to a 10% discount on all purchases. Simply present your membership card to Shop staff.