BFI Reuben Library

BFI Southbank,Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT
020 7255 1444
Waterloo LU
Open: Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm


The BFI library has a long history, and was for many years kept a secret by the film students and media researchers who were its stalwart patrons. The library underwent a transformation in 2014, acquiring an additional name (‘Reuben’) and moving to the central complex of the British Film Institute on the Southbank.

The new library remains the major national research collection specialising in British film and television, but with considerable international holdings. The collection includes books, journals, press cuttings and digitalised materials which are available to view or can be ordered in advance from the library’s vast archives. Established in 1934, the library’s collection spans the history of the moving image, from pre-cinema to the present, and this can be easily searched using their collections database.


The new space is much more appealing with subtle lighting and individual study areas but the main transformation is in the library’s ethos which is now open to all. As the reader services librarian, Sarah Currant explains:

“We actively want everybody, regardless of who they are, to have access to materials that are as well-thumbed as they are beautiful, well-known as they are arcane”.

Visit the BFI’s website or just call in during opening hours to find out more about this incredible library, as well as the BFI National Archive and Special Collections. BFI Southbank is a four-screen cinema venue, showing over 2,000 contemporary and classic films each year. View over 1,000 hours of free film and TV in the Mediatheque, or visit the BFI Shop, which boasts an incredible range of books, DVDs and gifts.

Images © BFI (Morton)
2015 BLL_COVER_2014

This is an extract from our forthcoming edition of Book Lovers’ London.