Registering and booking

Access to the Library’s collections is freely available to the public. We strongly recommend that you book an appointment in advance of your visit. On their first visit, users must register as a reader. Registration is valid for two years and allows access to all classes of material, with the exception of some restricted material.

Registering as a Reader

In order to be registered, readers should bring one piece of photo ID and one proof of address. Readers should present one piece of ID from each of the following lists:

Photo ID
  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Police/customs/Home Office/warrant card
  • Forces ID card
  • Expired Lambeth Palace Library card
Proof of Address
  • Recent (less than 3 months old) utility bill (Gas, Electricity, Telephone, Water)
  • Recent (less than 3 months old) bank/building society statement.
  • Credit card statement
  • Council tax bill/council rent book, state pension book
  • Benefit/family credit book
  • Passports (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority)
  • Driving licence (where the address has been officially entered by the issuing authority)

Please note that if an item appears on both lists it can only be used once.

Church of England clergy listed in the current Crockford’s Clerical Directory do not need to show proof of address. Members of staff of the National Church Institutions should bring their staff pass, which will be valid for all classes of material with the exception of restricted material such as illuminated manuscripts.


Pre-ordered material will be ready on arrival. Material can also be ordered on the day using the order slips on the Reading Room tables. Please provide as much detail as possible, as failure to do so may delay the retrieval of your material.

Readers may pre-order up to 20 items per day, plus an additional 5 items on the day (maximum 25 items total). Readers who have not pre-ordered material may order up to 5 items at each fetching time (maximum 20 items total).

Orders will be processed and fetched at the following times:

  • 10.30am
  • 11.30am
  • 2pm
  • 3.30pm

Up to 5 items may be ordered at each fetching time. Our staff aim to fetch requested items within 45 minutes of the advertised time. Orders placed after the final fetching time at 3.30pm will be ready for the next day.

When your material is ready, a member of staff will bring it to you. You may have up to five items on your desk at a time. Any additional items will be kept at the issue desk until an item is returned and then will be issued.

Restricted material is identified as such in the online catalogues. For this material, surrogates (e.g. colour microfilm) are usually produced. Readers wishing to consult the originals should contact the Library in advance, in writing or by email, to request permission, explaining the nature of the research and why access to original material is necessary.

Thursday evenings: Please note that there is no fetching service on Thursday evenings. If you are staying for the evening session, please place your orders by 3.30pm. If you intend to arrive after 3.30pm on Thursday, please ensure that you order in advance.


If you are using our collections, we strongly recommend that you book at least two working days in advance. This is to ensure that your material is ready for you when you arrive, and so that our staff have time to resolve any discrepancies or ambiguities with your order. To book a space in our Reading Room and request material, please fill out the form below. We will then confirm your booking. If you are unable to make your appointment, please let us know.

If you order material two working days in advance of your visit, it will be waiting for you when you arrive. If you decide to order on the day, please note that the last time that you can order material is 3.30pm.

While masks are no longer compulsory in the Reading Room, they will be available at reception and at the issue desk. If you are ill on the day of your visit, we kindly ask that you stay at home and reschedule your appointment.

Using the Reading Room

To help safeguard our collections, readers will be expected to adhere to the following rules:

  • All readers must sign in at the issue desk on arrival, and sign out on departure.
  • Readers must have clean, dry hands before handling collection material.
  • Laptops and mobiles may be taken into the Reading Room, provided the sound is turned off.
  • The following items are prohibited in the Reading Room:
    • Bags (including pencil cases, handbags, and laptop cases). Clear plastic bags are available in the Readers’ Common Room.
    • Outdoor clothing (including coats, hats, scarves, gloves)
    • Umbrellas
    • Pens. Pencils may be borrowed from the issue desk.
    • Tripods
    • Food or drink (including water)
  • Readers may only photograph collection items if they have a photography permit. Permits can be obtained from the issue desk. More information on self-service photography may be found here.

Belongings may be stored in the lockers in the Readers’ Common Room. Larger bags may be held at reception.

Staff will be on hand to offer handling guidance. They will also be able to assist you with the Library catalogues and advise you about our collections. This includes printed collections that are not yet fully catalogued, such as the Sion College Library collection, or about consulting archival collections that are not yet included in the database of archives and manuscripts.

Booking Form