The General Reading Room has seating for 156 readers. Of these, 32 are provided with facilities for portable computer use, and 14 are reserved solely for the use of hard-copy newspapers or large-format material. Footrests, a range of support cushions and a balance chair are available on request.
The bulk of the collections is held in areas closed to the public (see Consulting the collections).
However, a range of reference works is available within the reading room for the convenience of users.
Access to the Library's main catalogues of printed collections is available in the adjacent Issue Hall and Media Room. As well as the printed and microfiche catalogues there are 32 computers providing access to the Library's main catalogue. They also have web access.
One of the computers has a large monitor and keyboard for those who need enhanced facilities. A CCTV text enlarger with colour monitor is available in the Multimedia Room for those who need magnified or enhanced viewing facilities.
The Enquiry Desk in the Issue Hall offers assistance concerning use of the catalogues, location of materials and reprographic / photocopying services, as well as general reference enquiries.