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Catalogue locations

Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

 Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

 

The location for each of the four million items in the RIBA's collections is listed in the online catalogue. Although they are stored in many different places for conservation reasons, most of the items in the collection (that are not undergoing conservation or are on external loan) are accessible to the public by visiting the Library's two sites

  • Reading Room, British Architectural Library, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London 
    (photographic ID required for admission into the Reading Room)
  • RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum

Items stored in a closed-access area are not publicly accessible, but Library staff can fetch these for visitors in the Reading Room or Study Rooms. The location of the closed-access area will determine how quickly an item can be retrieved and this will be indicated in the list below along with explanations about access. 

Ask a member of staff or contact the Library if you need any additional help.

Collection moves 2013-4

Due to work to build a new exhibition gallery at 66 Portland Place, there have been changes to the locations and accessibility of collection material. The list below is updated regularly, but the latest information about the moves and how they may affect access can be found in Library news

List of catalogue locations

All items, except those marked 'LOAN', are for reference only. For any location not listed below please treat the same as 'SR'.

Location name           Access Details

ARCHIVE

Closed access

Same as details for 'RIBA Study Room at the V&A'

AV Closed access Same as '77 Portland Place'

BASEMENT

Closed access

 

Same as '77 Portland Place'
 

BIOG ENTRIES

Closed access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

Biographical files are stored in cabinets accessible to staff only. Fill in a blue 'Closed Access Request Form' available from the front table. The completed form should be handed to a member of staff at the enquiry desk in the Reading Room. Staff can normally retrieve these items on request.

BOX Closed access Same as '77 Portland Place'

DRAW-COLL

Closed access

Same as 'RIBA Study Room at the V&A'

EARLY-IMPS

Closed access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

Part of the Early Imprints Collection, this special collection of books printed before 1840 is stored in a staff-only area for conservation reasons. Fill in a green 'Early Works Request Form' available at the front table. The completed form should be handed to a member of staff at the enquiry desk in the Reading Room. Staff can normally retrieve these items on request.

ENQ_DESK

Open access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These items are normally at hand and can be requested at the enquiry desk of the Reading Room.

GALLERY

Open access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These items are on publicly accessible shelves in the upper gallery level of the Reading Room. 

HANDLEY READ

Closed access

There is currently there is no access to the Handley-Read Collection. This is due to the fragile nature of the material.

LARGE

Open access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These books do not fit on the main shelves are shelved in a separate sequence in the Reading Room Extension. 

LARGE_LOAN

Closed

access

These books are part of the Loan Library (see 'LOAN'), but due to their size these books do not fit on the main shelves with the other books from the Loan Library. Access to these are the same as for '77 Portland Place'.

LOAN

Open access*

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These books are part of the Loan Library and are accessible to all visitors. One of rear-most bays of the Reading Room form the 'LOAN' location. The books are available for loan only to RIBA members and (subject to a joining fee) student RIBA members, but remain available for reference purposes to all visitors.

*A number of 'LOAN' items are located offsite and will have the same access requirements as material located at '77 Portland Place'. This is not indicated by the online catalogue. Please contact us before your visit to check their availability.

REFERENCE

Open access*

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

Books classed with 'REFERENCE' as their location are on open shelves. Those numbered 72.036.6 through to 92 are to be found in the Reading Room on open shelves. Books numbered: 0-72.036.594 are located on mobile shelving in the adjacent Reading Room Extension. Detailed maps showing the location of the shelf numbers are available on the front table of the Reading Room and can be downloaded.

*A small number of these books published before 1956 are kept at 77 Portland Place and are fetched at set times. Contact the Library to check item locations before your visit.

Pamphlet Closed access Same as '77 Portland Place'

PHOTOS

Closed access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is kept in climate-controlled stores and are available only during the opening hours of the Photographs Collection (please note that its opening hours are slightly different to those of the Reading Room). An appointment must be booked before any visit so that requested material can be collected from stores and made available. Contact the team at the Photographs Collection directly to make an appointment.

Update for 2013:
From now until April 2014, due to the construction of a new permanent gallery at 66 Portland Place, there will be substantially reduced access to the Photographs Collection. For further details go to Library news

Users with specific enquiries are asked to email photo@riba.org for further advice.

RIBA Study Room at the V&A

Closed access

Accessible via the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum

These items are from the Drawings and Archives Collections and most can be seen in the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms. All items are kept in storage for conservation reasons and staff retrieve items at set times: 10.15am, 11.45am, 2pm and 3.15pm. No appointment is necessary, but by contacting the team at the Drawings and Archives Collections before a visit material can be reserved in advance so that it is ready on arrival.

Some parts of the collections are kept off site in an outstore, some are on loan, and some are undergoing conservation, so contact the Drawings and Archives Collections to check the availability of specific items. Some materials take longer to retrieve due to their off-site location.

See journals list

Various

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

A search for specific journal articles will show their location usually as 'See journal list'. A second search of the catalogue for the title of the journal under the 'collections' drop-down menu usually brings up a specific location name.

The locations of these journal titles are also printed in the 'List of Journals' folder, copies of which are available for reference on site at the front table near the enquiry desk and in the upper gallery. An explanation of the locations for journals: 

  • Basement: Closed access
    Advanced notice required, please see '77 Portland Place' for more details.
  • Gallery: Open access
    These journals are arranged alphabetically on open shelves in the upper gallery of the Reading Room. Alternatively, they can be located using the shelf number indicated in the list.
  • Stacks: Closed access
    These journals can be seen on request by filling in a pink 'Closed Access Request Form - Journals' (available on the front table). Hand the form to a member of staff at the enquiry desk. 
  • 77 Portland Place: Closed access
    Advanced notice required, please see '77 Portland Place' for more details.

SLIDES

Closed access

Same as details for 'PHOTOS'

SP COLL

Closed access

Due to the work to build the new exhibition gallery at 66 Portland Place, items in this location are available by special request only.

SR

Closed access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These items are stored in staff-only areas of the building for conservation reasons. Fill in a ‘Request Form’ available from the front table (choose a pink form for journals, green for early works and blue for books and other items). The completed form should be handed to a member of staff at the enquiry desk in the Reading Room. Staff can normally retrieve these items on request.

STACKS

Closed access

Same as details for 'SR'

X LARGE

Open access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These books are located beneath the display cabinets along the central aisle of the Reading Room.

77 Portland Place

Closed access

Available via the Reading Room, 66 Portland Place

These items are stored offsite and are available with advanced request. Items are collected once a week by staff on Thursdays; the deadline for requests each week is 5pm on Wednesdays. Please fill in the 'Closed Access Request form' and email the completed form  to info@riba.org . Please mark your email 'Closed Access Request'.

 

 

 

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