Anyone can get a library card to use National Library of Scotland collections and services.

We welcome a wide range of users, from people undertaking long-term research through to short-term visits.

You need a library card for admission to all National Library of Scotland reading rooms.

A library card is valid for three years.

A school students' card is valid for three months and is available to school students aged 16 and over.

You must provide evidence of identity and address when you apply for your card at Readers' Registration.

The decision to issue a card will be at our discretion. It only takes a few minutes to process an application and issue a card.

Undergraduate and college students

Except for access to unique material, we expect the needs of college and ordinary degree level students to be met by their own institutions.

Undergraduates and college students may apply for a library card to consult material which is not available elsewhere and which they need for specific research projects.

What you should bring

All applicants must bring evidence of identity and address with them to Readers' Registration in the George IV Bridge Building. Students should bring their matriculation card as well.

You can register in person at Readers' Registration or register online. Please note that online registration will give you a library card number, but you still have to visit us to get your card.

Online registration

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. See our 'How to register' guide.

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 eResources (formerly called licensed digital collections) from any computer outwith the Library.

Remote access to electronic resources

You can access some of our eResources (formerly called licensed digital collections) if you have a residential address in Scotland. Register online to access these resources.

Renewing your card

If you have a library card and you want to extend your registration, you must submit a new application. This will be subject to the same checks as your initial registration request. You will need to bring proof of identity and address to Readers' Registration.

You can only renew a library card during the final month of existing registration. The decision to renew registration is at our discretion.

Lost cards

If you lose your library card, we will charge you £5.00 for a replacement. We do not charge if your card has been stolen or if you change your name.

If your card is stolen, you should report the theft to the police and then provide us with a police report form or a crime number.

Change of address

If you have a library card, you must tell us of any change of address and provide proof of this change — for example, a recent utilities bill.

Your existing card will remain valid, but we will amend our records to show your new address.

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 the National Library is not a lending library. You have to consult our material in the reading rooms or, where available, online.


Using the Library