Using the Library and Archives

William Smith’s geological map of Great Britain

Part of William Smith's geological map of Great Britain, published in 1815

The Library and Archives team provides staff, visiting researchers and members of the public with easy access to the Museum's unique natural history information resources.

Below you will find information for staff and public visitors on:

  • requesting and accessing Library and Archives material
  • joining the Library
  • booking a Reading Room visit
  • ordering items for digitisation/delivery
  • citing Museum works
  • adhering to our terms of use  

Public visitors

How to arrange a visit

  • Search our collections and request the items you want to see, following the instructions given in the search and navigation guide PDF (506KB). Please specify your preferred appointment time when placing the request and ensure that you have given us at least two working days' notice.
  • We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your appointment. Until you receive confirmation, your appointment is not finalised.
  • Print out and complete the pre-registration form PDF (172KB) and bring it with you on the day of your appointment.
  • Come to the Reading Room with two forms of identification and collect your membership card. For help locating the room see our finding the Reading Room guide PDF (481KB).

Museum staff

If you're new to the Museum or just need a refresher, you can book a place on one of our staff induction sessions, which take place on the first Wednesday of every month.

If you would like to visit the Library and Archives before your session the guides listed will help you to identify and access the resources you need to support your work. 

We recommend that staff register with the Library and Archives to get the most out of our services. To register, email us with the following information:

  • name
  • staff pass barcode number
  • email address
  • room number 
  • supervisor/line manager
  • department