In this guide
Before you start
Make sure you are eligible to use the online request system:
- You must have registered with the National Library of Scotland. You can register online. When you visit for the first time, you can complete the process and get your card to use the reading rooms
- You must have a valid library card
- Check that the item you want is available to request online: see next section
- To order items, you must have an email address.
What you can / cannot order online
You can order books and monographs that registered readers can consult in the General Reading Room and the Special Collections Reading Room.
Library Search will tell you where the item you want is stored and where you can consult it.
You can order online:
- Books and monographs, including rare book collections
- Journals, newspapers, serial publications (e.g. annual directories)
- Microfilm, microfiches, CD-ROMs
- Legal material held by the Advocates Library.
- Manuscript collections (You can obtain details of these items using Library Search or our other manuscript catalogues and guides and request them by entering the details into the online manuscript order form.
To request these items, you must use only the online system. You will be able to request up to a maximum of 12 items, including no more than six items of Special Collections material.
You cannot order online:
- Moving image collections
- Material in the process of being catalogued
- Material on the open shelves in the General Reading Room
- Material which is not included in Library Search.
To request these items, you can either speak to a member of staff in the General Reading Room or phone 0131 623 3820.
How to request items online
There are four steps to preordering material through Library Search:
- Step 1 — Make sure you have your email address and password handy:
- You need these to orderitems
- If you don't have an email address and password, please speak to a member of staff or phone us on 0131 623 3820
- Step 2 — Log in to the online system:
- Go to Library Search and log in using your email address and password
- Step 3 — Search for your item:
- Enter the details of your item in the search box
- On the results page, follow the link to the record for the item
- Step 4 — Request the item:
- Go to the 'Request this item' link
- Submit your request.
To order manuscript material, follow steps 1-3, then request the item by entering the details into the online manuscript order form.
Please remember not to request items more than six days in advance of your visit.
Collect your material
You will be sent an email confirmation once your material is available for consultation in the George IV Bridge building:
- Collect General Collection items from the Collection / Return Desk outside the General Reading Room
- Collect Rare Book Collection items in the Special Collections Reading Room.
Track your request
In Library Search, go to your name at the top of the screen, then to 'My account' to view your requests.
For material ordered on the Alternative Request form, ask staff at the Collection / Return Desk in the General Reading Room or phone 0131 623 3822. For items ordered through the online manuscript order form, ask staff at the Collection / Return Desk in the Special Collections Reading Room or phone 0131 623 3899.
Please note: We only process requests during our normal opening hours. If you submit your request remotely outwith these hours, we cannot process it immediately.