Enquiry policy

The enquiry service at the National Library of Scotland provides customers with:

  • Information about our collections, online resources and catalogues, and how to use them
  • Guidance on how to find information or suggestions for other sources of information that might be useful
  • Research that requires no more than one hour of staff time per individual enquiry
  • Copying services: Please note that there are copyright and permission limitations and that charges apply — see the copying services pages for more information
  • Referral to another institution if we think it would be helpful.

We are committed to dealing with customer enquiries promptly:

  • We will acknowledge all enquiries when we receive them
  • We will deal with face-to-face and simple telephone enquiries promptly
  • We will process requests to place items on reserve within 48 hours. You can preorder most items via the main catalogue, as this is the quickest way for them to be processed
  • We will respond to email, letter and telephone enquiries as soon as possible, and normally within 10 working days. Complex enquiries may take a little longer
  • We will answer Freedom of Information enquiries within 20 working days.

Our responses, verbal or written, will be clear, courteous, accurate and unbiased.

Please note that we are unable to provide monetary valuations of items you may have. Our page on buying and selling rare books has some suggestions that may help you determine a book's value.


Family history research

The main depository for Scottish birth, marriage and death records, census records and wills is the National Records of Scotland.

At NLS we have a wide range of family history resources that may help with your research. We can provide brief information from these sources, but we are unable to conduct extensive genealogy research for you. See our family history section for details.

Those unable to visit the Library could try the Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives.


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