The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. This function has now been moved to the new British Library building at St. Pancras, but the Reading Room remains in its original form.
The Reading Room was in continual use from 1857 until its closure in 1997. Access was restricted to registered researchers only; however, reader's credentials were generally available to anyone who could show that they were a serious researcher.
Following the move to the new site, the old Reading Room was opened to the public in 2000.