Update: 30 August
Visitors to the reading rooms and exhibitions in our George IV Bridge building no longer need to book.
We have also increased the numbers who can visit those spaces at any one time. We are planning to reopen the shop and café in the near future.
The usual arrangement for booking to visit the Maps Reading Room at our Causewayside building applies.
It is still mandatory to wear a face covering inside Library buildings, and hygiene and social distancing measures remain in place.
See the reopening page for details.
Update: 23 August
From Monday 30 August, we are removing or reducing some of the restrictions that we introduced due to Covid-19:
- There will be no need to book to visit the George IV Bridge building reading rooms or exhibitions. Booking to visit the Maps Reading Room continues as normal
- We are increasing the maximum number of people who can use the reading rooms and visit the exhibitions at any one time
- The Library shops reopen at George IV Bridge and at Kelvin Hall.
We still need to keep visitors and staff safe, which means:
- Wearing a face covering is mandatory when you are inside the Library, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, unless you are exempt
- We will continue with hygiene and physical distancing measures
- The George IV Bridge café is closed in the meantime, but we hope to reopen soon.
We will update our reopening page with further details on 30 August.
Update: 27 July
From Monday 2 August we will be making some changes to our reading room operations.
First, we will resume opening our reading rooms in our Edinburgh buildings on Mondays. This will extend our weekly offer to six days per week for the General and Special Collections Reading Rooms at George IV Bridge, and to four days per week for our Maps Reading Room at Causewayside. Our current opening hours of 10.00 to 16.00 remain for now.
Also, from 2 August you will be able to make two visits a week to any of our reading rooms — either using the same reading room twice, or two visits to different readings rooms. You will still have to book your place through our online booking forms.
You will also be asked to use Check In Scotland — part of NHS Scotland's Test and Protect service — to log your reading room visit. The QR code for scanning will be available at the entrance to each reading room, and paper forms will be available for anyone who doesn't use a smartphone. For more information, visit the NHS Scotland website.
Update: 19 July 2021
Scotland moves today to Level 0 for Covid-19 restrictions. At the Library, we're keeping the two-metre social distancing rule in our reading rooms and public spaces for the moment. We will continue to assess our buildings' safety requirements and to make gradual changes.
We do plan to increase the opening hours of our Edinburgh buildings, which will increase our reading rooms availability to six days a week. Our provisional date to open on Mondays is 2 August. We'll continue with the hours of 10.00 to 16.00 for now. Access to the reading rooms will continue through our booking systems.
Please note the 2 August date is indicative and we hope to confirm this by late July.
Update: 13 July 2021
Our exhibitions space at our George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh is now open to visitors on a pre-booked basis.
We have health and safety measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe. You can find out more about what to expect from your visit and how to book your tickets on our page about visiting the exhibitions.
Update: 27 April 2021
Our reading rooms in Edinburgh are now open to library card holders on a pre-booked basis. You must preorder items you wish to consult during your visit.
The National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall is also open with revised opening hours. Visitors do not need to book or be a member of the Library.
We have health and safety measures in place to protect visitors and staff. Please read the information on our reopening page before your visit.
We've missed our readers and are very glad to welcome you back.
Update: 20 April 2021
We have today opened the booking service for our Edinburgh reading rooms, in advance of the reading rooms reopening for limited service on 27 April.
Library card holders must prebook a seat using the online booking forms. When they arrive for their visit, they must show their booking acknowledgement email in either printed or electronic form.
We have also opened the online preordering systems for collection material. Preorders need to be made at least 24 hours before the pre-booked reading room session.
Visit our reopening information page for details of what facilities and services will be available from 27 April.
Update: 6 April 2021
We know our readers have missed being in the reading rooms since we closed in December — and we've missed seeing you there! The good news is that we're working towards a reopening date of Tuesday 27 April, where we will provide a limited reading room service at our George IV Bridge and Causewayside buildings in Edinburgh. On the same day, the National Library at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow will also reopen.
This is in line with the Scottish Government's advice published on 16 March, which outlines a timetable for easing restrictions. If this advice changes, we will adjust our plans to suit.
Your safety, and that of our staff, is paramount in all of our decision-making and planning. More information will be published on our website within the next few weeks, detailing safety measures in place, opening hours, booking systems for access to our reading rooms, as well as general guidelines for visitors. Anyone who visited us between August and December last year should expect much of the same.
We are really looking forward to welcoming you back to our reading rooms. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out the wealth of digital resources we have available, as well as our online workshops and events.
Update: 5 January 2021
Due to the latest Scottish Government restrictions relating to Covid-19, our buildings in Edinburgh and Glasgow will remain closed to the public until at least Tuesday 2 February.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will reopen our buildings when it is safe to do so, in line with government guidance.
Update: 21 December 2020
Following the latest Scottish Government restrictions due to Covid-19, we must close all our buildings once more.
We are closed from 16.00 on Wednesday 23 December until at least Tuesday 19 January.
We are sorry to have to close our Edinburgh reading rooms so soon after reopening, but we must do so to help keep the public and our staff safe.
As before, we remain very much open online. You can:
- Visit the digital gallery where you can access a vast amount of items we have digitised from our collections
- Use our eResources if you have joined the Library and your main address is in Scotland
- Attend online events or workshops
- View films from the Moving Image Archive
- Get creative with activities for families staying at home.
Our librarians are still here to help, although we are not available on these dates during the festive season:
- Thursday 24 to Monday 28 December
- Thursday 31 December
- Friday 1 to Monday 4 January.
On other dates, you can ask a question online using our enquiry form or via Library Chat. Chat is available 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday.
The map download service from the map images website is operating as normal, with orders being processed within five working days, excluding the dates above.
Other digital download, print and photocopying services are unavailable until further notice.