The British Library is suffering a technology outage after it was hit by a cyber-attack, which is affecting services online and its sites in London and Yorkshire.
Access to the website, as well as the catalogue and digital collections, is temporarily unavailable. The collection of items ordered on or after 27 October, new collection item orders via digital catalogues and reading room PCs are also inaccessible, it said. Reader registration is also unavailable.
The British Library said on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into the incident with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and other cybersecurity specialists.
A statement said: “The British Library is experiencing a major technology outage, as a result of a cyber incident. This is affecting online systems and services, our website, and onsite services including our reading rooms. We are investigating the incident with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and cybersecurity specialists.”
The library revealed that it was experiencing “technical issues” on Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said that public wifi was down. It later said it expected the issues “to continue for the next few days”. Public wifi access is now back.
Collection items ordered on or before 26 October are still available to pick up and there is very limited manual collection item ordering available in St Pancras for items stored onsite via the library’s printed catalogues.
The exhibition Fantasy: Realms of Imagination is still open to the public, and tickets can be purchased on site with cash only.
The statement continued: “We are very grateful for the support and understanding we have had from our users, staff and partners. The library’s sites remain fully open to the public and details on the services that remain available can be found via @britishlibrary on X.
The British Library, the UK’s national library, is one of the largest libraries in the world. It holds more than 150m items, including 13.5m printed books and e-books, rare manuscripts, maps, stamps, sound recordings, photographs and music.
The library recently revealed that in a “major milestone”, the entire collection of Geoffrey Chaucer’s works were being made available in digital format after the completion of a two-and-a-half-year project to upload 25,000 images of the often elaborately illustrated mediaeval manuscripts.
The library asked users to “please bear with us while we gather more information” on the cyber-attack and said it would provide updates about the situation as regularly as it could.