The British Library experienced a significant IT outage due to a cyber incident that occurred on Saturday, October 28. The outage disrupted the library’s website, various services, phone lines, and onsite library services in London and Yorkshire.
Although the Reading Rooms for personal study and collection items requested before October 26 remain accessible onsite, the library’s online systems and services were affected by the incident. The British Library is actively investigating the cyberattack with the assistance of the National Cyber Security Centre and cybersecurity specialists.
As of now, there is no confirmation regarding whether personal or financial information of customers or employees was accessed or stolen during the incident. The library has also not disclosed details about the nature of the attack or the methods employed by the malicious actors to breach its systems.
At the time of publishing, the British Library’s website remained offline due to the ongoing cyberattack. While some manual ordering of collection items is available in London using printed catalogs in St Pancras, access to digital collections and the digital catalog is currently unavailable, and exhibition tickets can only be purchased in person with cash.
The British Library houses a vast collection of over 150 million items stored on approximately 625 km of shelves, with three million new items added each year. The library plays a pivotal role by receiving copies of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. Annually, more than 11 million learners visit the library’s website, and over 16,000 people utilize its collections daily, both onsite and online.