General reader's library card
A general reader's card is valid for up to three years. We issue this card to anyone who needs to use the George IV Bridge Building reading rooms to consult our collections.
Please note that NLS is not a lending library. You have to consult our material in the reading rooms or, where available online.
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.
The general reader's card is available to postgraduate students, but not to undergraduates or school students. Applications from undergraduates and school students.
What you should bring
All applicants must bring evidence of identity and address with them to Readers' Registration in the George IV Bridge Building. Postgraduate 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.
Remote access to electronic resources
Renewing your card
If you have a general reader's 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 general readers' card during the final month of existing registration. The decision to renew registration is at our discretion.
If you lose your general reader's card, we will charge you £5.30 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.
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.