Anyone can get a library card to use National Library of Scotland collections and services. We support the work of academic researchers, although you do not need academic credentials to use NLS. We welcome a wide range of users.
We have two types of card available:
- A short-term card, issued to undergraduate, college and school students and valid for three months
- A general reader's card, valid for up to three years.
You must provide evidence of identity and address when you apply for your card at Readers' Registration.
You need a library cards for admission to all NLS reading rooms, including the Maps Reading Room.
You can register online to start the registration process before you visit. This will shorten the time it will take for us to issue your library card on your first visit to us in person.
You will be able to use your library card number right away to request books via the main catalogue in advance of a visit to the reading rooms. You may also be able to access some of our licensed digital collections from any computer outwith NLS.
Cards for students
Special admission procedures apply to school, college and undergraduate university students. See short-term card page for details.
Terms and conditions of use
Please read the Library's terms and conditions, which cover use of the reading rooms and your registration details.
Note that NLS is not a lending library. You have to consult our material in the reading rooms or, where available, online.