View of the George IV Bridge visitor centre

Our Visitor Centre in Edinburgh offers a range of facilities and services for those who enter the George IV Bridge building.

In this ground-floor area you can:

  • Learn about our treasures and services in the exhibition space
  • Browse and buy books and quality unique gifts and stationery
  • Enjoy refreshments and snacks in our café
  • Browse our online collections
  • Register for entry to our reading rooms and access to a wider range of digital material.


The main public area

In the main public area we have:

  • Computers that anyone can use to find online reference material and see material digitised from Library collections.
  • An information point, where you can find out more about the Library.
  • The bookshop, selling Scottish publications, stationery and gifts.
  • The café seating area
  • WiFi access.

Books and other items for sale are on display on shelves in the main public area.

Shop opening hours are:

Monday-Friday: 09.00-20:30
Saturday: 09.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00

Across the main corridor is the café servery which offers:

  • Superior quality Fairtrade coffee and fine teas
  • Fresh sandwiches, snacks and homemade cakes
  • Drinks and snacks to take away.

Café opening hours are:

Monday-Friday: 09.00-20:00
Saturday: 09.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00


Discovery area

The discovery area presents a snapshot of what we have to offer in our collections and services.

Here we showcase a selection of the 15 million or so items we hold. A rolling programme of exhibits will range from some of our treasures to displays on particular themes.

In the room next door is the permanent John Murray Archive exhibition.

Whether you are an experienced researcher or venturing into a major research library for the first time, we have a range of services to suit your needs. Discover what we can do for you, then move into the public area to access collections online or register for a library card.

Opening hours for Library exhibitions are:

Monday-Friday: 10.00-20.00
Saturday: 10.00-17.00
Sunday: 14.00-17.00


Readers' registration

Here visitors can:

  • Register for access to the reading rooms and our eResources (formerly called licensed digital collections)
  • Renew a library card
  • Collect and pay for photocopies of material from the collections.

To speed up your registration, you can start the process by registering online. The 'How to register' guide will take you through the various stages of registration.

Please remember to bring evidence of identity and address when you come to get your library card.

We have two wheelchair-friendly computer workstations where people can fill in the registration form online. Read more about George IV Bridge access and facilities for people with disabilities.

If you have questions about our Visitor Centre in Edinburgh, or about collections and services in general, email us at


The National Library — What we are