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 will be closed for the May Bank Holiday on 28th and 29th May.
The Library will close at 15:00 on Thursday 31st May for the Summer Soirée. We regret that we are unable to accommodate external researchers on this day.
The Library will be closed for the summer from Monday 30th July and will re-open on Monday 3rd September.