Using the Library in person

Video guide 4

The National Library of Scotland has something to offer every type of visitor who wants to learn more about our collections. This video is a useful guide to showing you what to do when you first arrive. The practical information on this page may also be useful to help you prepare ahead of your visit.


Register before you visit

Registering online before you visit will help you save time and enable you to get your library card quicker. Remember to bring proof of identity which includes your name and address.


Useful information for using the reading rooms

  • For security and to protect our collections, only pencils are allowed in the reading rooms. Notepads are allowed but should be placed in clear, plastic bags available in the cloakroom.
  • Large bags, outdoor coats and jackets have to be left in lockers in the Cloakroom. You need a £1 coin for the lockers.
  • Items in the Library are only available for consultation in the reading rooms, so you can't borrow anything to take away. But we can hold items on reserve for you to come back and use again in the reading rooms.
  • If you want to copy anything, ask staff at the Enquiry Desk about our photocopying services.
  • It's a good idea to reserve items in advance of your visit as they can take from one to two hours to fetch for you. If you already have a library card, you can preorder these items online.
  • Items not available to preorder online, such as early newspapers or journals, can be ordered by emailing your request to

When you want to take a break, you'll find a café, exhibitions area and other facilities on the ground floor.

Remember, staff are on hand to help — just ask. We look forward to seeing you at the National Library of Scotland.


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