Please note: At present there is limited access to reading room services. For details of what is available, and also what you are unable to do, see the Maps Reading Room information on our reopening page.
You can use Library Search to look for maps in the Library's collections. There is a guide to finding maps using Library Search available to help you.
- Use Library Search
You can request maps to view in the Maps Reading Room using our map request form. Alternatively, staff can advise you on relevant maps for your research during your visit to the Maps Reading Room.
The following reference material is available on open shelves in the Maps Reading Room for immediate access and browsing.
You may remove items from the reading room shelves, but please do not remove anything from drawers — do ask staff for assistance. Please do not return items to the shelves, unless you are certain where they should go.
- Atlases, particularly national atlases
- Cartographic reference books
- Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 current maps of Great Britain
Most maps are kept in closed stacks and are fetched in a few minutes by staff when requested. An enquiry desk and experienced staff are always on hand and we recommend that you ask staff before consulting map catalogues and lists.
Items with restricted access
A small number of maps, books and manuscripts of particular cultural significance have restricted access for preservation reasons:
- These items are available for consultation only for research which needs the originals and cannot be undertaken using existing surrogates
- You must give us 48 hours' notice that you wish to consult the item(s)
- If permission is agreed, you can make an appointment to consult the item(s) in the Maps Reading Room, which is open from 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-17.00, Mondays to Thursdays. Please note that consultation of restricted access items ends half an hour earlier than that for other collection items.