- Online you can
- For personal visits
Using the Library
The information here should help you get the most of your visit, whether you use the website or come to see us in Edinburgh.
- Search the main catalogue and
Find details of National Library of Scotland material listed in our main catalogue and on our web pages.
- View digitised
Visit our Digital Gallery for access to maps, broadsides, books, photographs, posters, films and other digitised material.
You can register online to use our password-protected services and pre-register for a library card.
licensed digital resources
Without a library card you have free access to selected licensed resources, including family history material. With a card you can search thousands of pages of texts and millions of records and abstracts.
If you have a library card or if you registered online with us, you can preorder books via the main catalogue in advance of your visit to the George IV Bridge Building.
Monday-Friday from 14.00-16.00 we have General Reading Room staff available online to give an instant reply to quick questions about material published from 1850 onwards.
- Ask a
Send us a question using the online form. This service is part of an enquiries network involving libraries all over the world.
- Make a
Freedom of Information request
Anyone has access to information about the Library under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. You can write to us or use our online form.
Personal visits to Edinburgh
This section tells you about our library cards, how to get one and what evidence of identification you need to bring with you.
Your library card gives you access to our reading rooms. These pages tell you about the facilities on offer and the kind of material you can consult.
The opening hours of our reading rooms, exhibitions and Visitor Centre.
A list of local and national holidays that affect the availability of services, the reading rooms and other public areas.
See how to get to our main buildings.
With your library card you have free access to a wide range of digital resources within our General Reading Room. Some resources are freely available to everyone.
Manual catalogues and indexes list details of material that is not available through the online catalogues.
- Access for people with
Details of facilities available in the George IV Bridge and Causewayside buildings for people with special needs.
- Visitor Centre
Our visitor centre has a café, shop, exhibition spaces, and computers for accessing NLS websites. Reader's Registration is also in this area.
Find out what tours and visits we can organise for groups, or how to book a speaker to visit your group outwith the Library.
Other useful information
Four short videos in the Learning zone to help you get started if you are new to the Library
- Guides for web
Information on how to use particular features on the website or aimed at specific groups of visitors, whether online or in our buildings.
Overviews of what we have in National Library collections, ranging from early manuscripts and rare books to films, newspapers, music, maps and more.
- Copying services and
permission to re-use
Discover what copying we can do for you, what you can photocopy yourself, prices, delivery options, and how to get permission to re-use Library material.
- Terms and
Conditions of use covering access to our reading rooms and collections.
Read about our commitment to you, what we ask of you, and our customer service standards.
Find out about borrowing for exhibitions or about how we can get can get material for you from another library.
An outline of our commitment to answering enquiries.