Essential maintenance

Due to maintenance, some online services will be unavailable 8am Saturday 28 November until 8am Monday 30 November, We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

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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 our rarest and most valuable books and special collections in safe, secure conditions. 

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

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.
  • 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.

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

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