Information for Reading Room users

Access & opening hours

The Reading Room will be open on Wednesdays from 11:00am until 6:00pm from 26th September 2012. No appointment is required, but we can only accommodate a maximum of 12 researchers at any one time. During very busy periods you may be asked to wait in the Reception area until space becomes available within the Reading Room. We hope to extend our opening hours in the future. You may also book a private appointment on an alternative day by contacting the Reading Room staff via email on

Reader Cards

The Library is open to all, but readers must present a valid Reader Card upon entering the Reading Room. Reader Cards are valid for one year from the purchase date. You can register for a Reader Card on your arrival in the Reading Room. You must bring proof of your identity that includes a portrait photograph, such as a valid passport, driving licence or student identity card. You must also provide proof of your address; a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, telephone or council tax) is acceptable for this purpose. Please remember to bring these documents with you on your first visit. We charge a £5.00 processing fee which can be paid in cash or by card.

If you do not have a Reader Card and you do not have sufficient proof of identity, you can purchase a Temporary Day Pass. The Day Pass enables access to the collections for those who have not brought the identity documents required for a Reader Card. The Day Pass costs £5.00 and is only valid on the day of issue. The fee is non-refundable. Temporary Day Passes cannot be exchanged for a Reader Card.

Paying for your Reader Card

We accept payment by cash, by cheque and by all credit and debit cards with a chip and pin except American Express.

Personal items

No bags or personal items, with the exception of laptop computers, mobile phones, pencils, personal papers and notebooks are permitted in the Reading Room. The use of pens and personal scanners is not permitted. Pencils are available from the Reading Room staff at nominal cost. All bags must be checked in with Reading Room staff upon arrival. Staff will issue a ticket for your personal items which will be kept in a designated area in closed access. St Bride Foundation can accept no responsibility for personal items which have been checked in.

Enquiry & research services

The Reading Room staff are knowledgeable about the collection and are there to help you, therefore please do not hesitate to ask for assistance. We have many archival and special collection items that may be useful to you. Some of these are not listed in the online catalogue. Staff may be able to suggest other items which may be of use to you. It is recommended that you email ahead of your visit with details of your research queries, listing items you may wish to consult from the catalogue. All enquiries should be addressed to Our staff will make every effort to have your items on hold for your arrival. You will receive an email acknowledgement and all research requests will be processed within one week.

Open/Closed Access and limits to requested items

There are no limits or restrictions to using books which are shelved in the Reading Room open access area. There is no limit, within reason, to the number of items you may request from our closed access storage, but a request slip must be presented for each item. Only two items at a time will be issued, and they must be returned to the Library staff before additional items can be obtained. All closed access items must be returned to the Reading Room issue desk half an hour before closing.

Handling material

The Reading Room staff have been trained in handling items in our collection and will provide book cradles, weights and other items required for the protection of older and more fragile material. Staff will request that readers wash and dry their hands thoroughly before handling some items. Some of the older and more valuable items may only be handled under staff supervision.

Image reproduction

The Reading Room staff can provide photocopies and scans of library items. The fees for these services are dependent upon the intended use of the images, and appropriate contracts are available upon request from the Reading Room desk. The decision as to whether an item is suitable for scanning or copying is at the discretion of Library staff. If an item might be damaged by the process, then reproduction will be denied. Readers may take photographs of Library material upon payment of a fee of £2.00 per day. Flash photography is not permitted and commercial exploitation of research images is prohibited.

Printing and beyond