The National Library of Scotland can host online sessions to view collection items. We call this a ‘virtual reading room’, like the reading rooms at our buildings in Edinburgh.
The sessions use visualisers for live, online viewing of collection items, supported by Library staff. These sessions can be an alternative if you cannot visit the Library in person.
This is a pilot service, and we are making changes in response to what you tell us about your experience. You will be sent a feedback survey and will be asked if you are happy to take part in an audience research interview after the session.
What you need for a session
To take part in a virtual reading room session, you must be registered as a member. You can join the Library for free. Find out more about how to register.
You will need a desktop computer, laptop or large tablet and a stable internet connection where you will access the service. We use Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which you can access from your browser or download to your device.
The service is available Monday to Friday, 09:30am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4:30pm, subject to staff availability. Requests should be made at least one week in advance to ensure the requested items are available and are suitable for an online session. Same day requests will not be possible.
What can I view in a session?
We may not be able to make some material accessible to view. For example, if it is too large, fragile or holds content that is restricted due to copyright or data protection. If this is the case, we will let you know as soon as soon as you contact us with a list of the material you would like to view.
The material you want to view may have been digitised and made available on the Digital Gallery. If this is the case, we will let you know when you get in touch.
It is not possible to make recordings or take screen shots during the session due to copyright restrictions.
How to book
It is important to provide as much information as you can about the collections you want to look at. This allows us to make sure the material is available and suitable for a session.
To book a virtual reading room session, get in touch through the ask a question service. Tell us:
- What collection material you would you like to look at.
- When you hope to do this.
- If you have any access requirements.
Be as specific as possible about what you want to view. Include shelf marks or links to the online catalogue if you can.