Libraries Access our archives, rare books and collections

Look at our materials and sources

We have a search room on the ground floor of Central Library where you can look at archives, rare books and special collections. It is open:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday - 9am to 5pm
  • Thursday - 9am to 8pm
  • Sunday - closed

To visit, please book the search room at least one working day in advance. We need to receive your request by 9am on the day before you want to visit, or by 9am on Friday if you want to visit on a Monday.

Search the library catalogue or GM Lives archive catalogue to find resources you're interested in. 

Some archive materials can take up to two weeks to retrieve from storage.  These are marked 'This material is stored off-site' in the catalogue.

Search room guidelines

  • Self-service photocopying is available for a fee in the search room.
  • Please note that some items are too fragile to be copied. You are welcome to use your own camera to photograph items in the search room - there is a charge for this of £6 for half a day.
  • Bags must be left in the lockers provided.
  • No pens, food or drink are permitted in the search room - pencils only.
  • You are welcome to bring laptops, tablets and phones into the search room.
  • Handling guidelines are available in the search room. We have produced videos on handling volumes and handling rolled maps and plans.
  • Only original material which is not available on microfilm or digitally will be produced in the search room.
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