Reading room facilities include:
- formal study area (with power supply for laptops)
- informal drop-in area ideal for group work
- free wifi
- digital scanners to access information held on microfiche and roll film
- book scanners for copying library material, within copyright regulations
There are 6 public access research terminals. Here you can access the full content of the library’s networked digital resources such as:
- BFI Collections Search
- Film & TV Literature Index with Full Text
- Screen Studies Collection, which includes the American Film Institute Catalog and International Federation of Film Archives International Index to Film Periodicals database
We host Special Collections access with appointment times from Tuesday to Thursday at 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5.30pm.
During term time there are often organised student study visits in the mornings from 10.30am to 1.00pm while the library is open to other visitors.
Research terminals are intended solely for accessing our databases and searching our collections. At busy times usage of the terminals may be restricted.
Digital photography is not allowed in the library. Use our dedicated scanning equipment to copy material.
The Edwin Fox Foundation Reading Room is available for private hire.
Our collection covers all aspects of film and television study. We also cater for those with a professional interest in the film and television industry. We hold theses, annual reports, festival files and pamphlets, and have millions of newspaper cuttings dating back to the 1930s which are available digitally on our research terminals.
You can browse the latest copies of film journals, including Broadcast, Cahiers du Cinema, Celebrity Studies, Empire, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Screen International and Variety. We also display books themed to complement BFI Southbank seasons and events.
If you have any questions, please ask a member of staff.
Reading room book collection
This collection covers the history of cinema and television from its origins to the present day. Material includes but is not limited to:
- film theory
- film noir
- science fiction
- practical filmmaking guides
- television programmes
- different national cinemas from around the world
- major collections on British and American cinema
Reading room serials collection
Our serials collection includes periodicals, annuals and festival catalogues each represented in their own way in the reading room.
The majority of our annuals collection is held at our Conservation Centre, however a small selection of annual reports, directories and yearbooks useful for finding contact, statistical or biographical information can be found on the reading room book shelves. These include The Kinematograph Yearbook (1914–1971), the Knowledge, the British Video Association Yearbook, Quigley’s almanacs, the Hitchcock annual, Variety reviews and Obituaries in the Performing Arts.
From the earliest festival to date, the London Film Festival programmes can be found in the periodicals sequence bound and filed together with the NFT/BFI Southbank Guide programmes. For all other festivals please enquire at the desk.
Our periodicals collection includes current journals to browse, entire runs of key hard copy journals, and a range of e-journals which can be accessed via the research terminals in the library.
Below is a list of periodicals held in the reading room that can be easily accessed. Bound volumes of these current journals are kept on the shelves, up to and including these volumes and dates. Journals in bold are no longer published. Journals marked * are also available digitally on reading room terminals.
Animation Journal*: 1995-2008
Asian Cinema: 1988-2017
Black Film Bulletin: 1993-2000
Black Filmmaker: 1998-2006
Black Film Review*: 1986-1991
British Cinematographer: 2002-2017
Broadcast: May 1985 — July 2018
Cahiers du Cinema: 1951-2018
Cahiers du Cinema in English: 1966-1967
Cineaction*: 1986-1994 (No. 35)
Cinema Business: 2004-2009
Cinema Papers: 1974-2001
Cinema Scope*: 1999-2007 (No. 32)
Classic Images (previously Classic Film Collector): 1965-2017 (June)
Creative Screenwriting: 1995-2011 (Vol. 18, No. 4)
DGA Magazine: 1994-2004 (No. 29)
DGA Quarterly: 2005-2015 (Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter)
Documentary News Letter (continued as Documentary Film News): 1940-1949
Empire: 1989-June 2019
Feminist Media Studies: 2001-2017
Film Comment*: 1962-2002
Film Dope: 1972-1994
Film International (Iran): 1993-2010
Film Ireland* (previously Film Base News): 1988-1998/1999 (No. 68 )
Film Quarterly (previously Quarterly of Film Radio and Television)*: 1951-2000 (Vol. 54)
Film Review (previously ABC Film Review): 1951-2008
Films & Filming: 1954-1990
Film Score Monthly*: 1992-2005
Films Illustrated: 1971-1982
Films in Review*: 1950-1997
Films of the Golden Age: 1995-2018
Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television*: 1981-1990 (Vol. 10, No. 3)
IF (Inside Film)*: 1998-2009
In Camera: 1988-2013
Index on Censorship: 1972-2009
In The Picture: 1983-2008
Journal of British Cinema & Television* (previously Journal of Popular British Cinema): 2004-2017
Journal of Chinese Cinemas*: 2007-2017
Journal of Film & Video (previously Journal of University Film Association)*: 1959-2000 (Vol. 51)
Journal of Popular British Cinema (continues as Journal of British Cinema & Television*): 1998-2002
Journal of Popular Film and TV: 1972-2014
Media & Technology Digest (previously Screen Digest): 2013-2018
Monthly Film Bulletin*: 1934-1991
National Film Theatre Programmes (continues as BFI Southbank Guide): 1957-June 2018
New York Motion Picture Critics Review: 1944-1945
Positif*: 1952-2018 (June)
Post Script*: 1981-2006 (Vol. 25, No. 3)
Premiere (UK): 1992-1997
Premiere (US): 1989-2007
Revue du Cinema/Image et Son: 1983-1992
Science Fiction Film and Television*: 2008-2016
Screen Africa: 1998-2016
Screen Digest (continues as Media and Technology Digest): 1971-2011
Screen Finance: 1988-2009
Screen International: 1993-2018
Sight & Sound*: 1932-2018 (June)
South Asian Cinema: 2001-2004
Starburst: 1979-2008 (Oct)
Studies in Documentary Film*: 2007-2017
Television Business International: 1988-2018 (Jan)
Total Film: 2014-2018
Vanity Fair: 2010 (Oct) — 2018
Velvet Light Trap*: 1971-2000 (No. 46)
Vertigo (UK): 1993-2008
Wide Angle: 1976-1999
Written By: 1998-2009