Temporary reduced library services

New members of library staff have been recruited and will all be in post by the end of October. Therefore we will continue operating a reduced library service until the end of October.

Research visits: Research visits by Fellows will continue as usual during the Library’s normal opening times (Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm). Fellows wishing to consult material that needs retrieving by staff (manuscripts, archives, prints and drawings, and printed items on closed access) are asked to order material in advance.

External researcher visits will be limited to no more than 2 researchers per day and will be strictly by appointment only. Our Guidelines for Researchers on our website give information on how to make an appointment.

Image services: Our image services are suspended until September, and we will not be accepting requests for images and licences from the library and museum collections.

This does not affect the photocopying service.

Other library services to Fellows will operate as normal (book loans and electronic resources service)

Please check our website for dates of planned closures.


For 300 years the Library has been at the heart of the Society, helping to shape our understanding of the past.

The Library is the largest antiquarian library in the country, with an outstanding collection of more than 130,000 books dating from the fifteenth century to the present day, monograph series, approximately 3000 current and historic journal titles, manuscripts and archives, and prints and drawings.

It covers British and European archaeology, architectural history, art history and the decorative arts (especially medieval), the historic environment, and British local history. Its collection of county historical and archaeological publications is one of the most comprehensive in the country, as its collection of European journals.

Our special collections include 2,000 proclamations from 1464 to the mid-nineteenth century, 1,000 broadsides including a printed indulgence from 1513, the Lowther collection of Civil War tracts, the Fairholt Collection on pageantry, the Prattinton Collection on Worcestershire, the Jackson Collection on Wiltshire, the Willson Collection on Lincolnshire, the archives of the Society of Dilettanti and the Roxburghe Club Library.

You can explore highlighted objects from our collections with our 'Unlocking Our Collections' series.

Planned Library Closures

The Library is closed to researchers from Monday 29th of July until Monday 2nd of September.

The Library will be closing for the Christmas holidays at 15.00 on Monday 23rd of December 2019 and will re-open at 10am on Thursday 2nd of January 2020.