Admission policies

Entry to all the British Architectural Library's sites and collections is free and everyone is welcome. The admission requirements will vary depending on which location or collection you wish to visit. Use the online catalogue to see what we have and where items are located. 

  

Collection items temporarily unavailable 2014-5

The following are temporarily not available to our visitors, but full access will hopefully be restored by late spring/early summer 2015:

  • Photographs Collection 
  • RIBA Nomination Papers (this may affect any biographical research requests)
  • Parts of the Books and Periodicals Collections, including the Special Collections and all items listed in the online catalogue with the locations: BASEMENT, BOX, Pamphlet or AV (analogue audiovisual items are not available due to conservation reasons)
  • RIBA Archives materials with the call/ref numbers XMS, X(079) and ReAw

The following are also not currently available, but full access to these will hopefully be restored in late spring 2015:

  • All items listed in the online catalogue with the location '77PP'
  • (from 5 January 2015) Drawings and Archives material that is held in our outstore

Please check this page for further updates as details may change or contact us if you have any queries. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

 

  

Display of books from the RIBA's collections
Display of books from the RIBA's collections

Books and Periodicals Collections

(includes the audiovisual material)

Due to building work, some items from this collection have been moved and will not be accessible. We hope to restore full access by late spring/early summer. 

Opening times

Location: Reading Room, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

Entry: Entry is free. For access to the Reading Room, members of the RIBA must bring their RIBA membership card. Access to the general public is on production of proof of identity, which must contain a photograph, e.g. passport, driving licence, student university ID, British Library or National Archives Network card. 

Bags: Bags cannot be brought into the Reading Room. Most items may be stored in lockers which are free of charge - the keys are available from the enquiry desk. Please note that there are no facilities to store overly large items or bags. 

Personal photography:  Readers may photograph certain materials within the Reading Rooms of the British Architectural Library, free of charge and for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study only. 

Reprographic services: Reprographic services  are available for those who are unable to visit the Reading Rooms in person and for those who require high quality images of items in the collection.

Personal equipment: Visitors can only use pencil or laptops to make notes near items from the Early Imprints Collection of rare books. The use of ink or pens is not allowed near these items.

Access to material: Most material from this collection is available either on open shelves or is retrievable on request if stored in non-public areas. Only RIBA members may borrow books from the Loan Library.

Material temporarily unavailable: Due to building work, some items from this collection have been moved and will not be accessible until late spring/early summer 2015 at the earliest. Please check via the online catalogue to see where the items you require are located, as this will affect its availability. Items temporarily unavailable include:

  • Special Collections
  • items listed in the online catalogue with the locations: BASEMENT, BOX, Pamphlet or AV 
  • items listed in the online catalogue with the location '77PP'

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

  

Display of photographic material from the RIBA's collections
Display of photographic material from the RIBA's collections

Robert elwall Photographs Collection

The Photographs Collection is currently closed to researchers. We hope to reopen in late spring/early summer 2015.

Normal access procedures for the Photographs Collection 

Due to building work, the Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is currently closed to researchers. We hope to reopen in late spring/early summer 2015

Opening times 

Location: Reading Room, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

Entry: Entry is free. For access to the Reading Room, members of the RIBA must bring their RIBA membership card. Access to the general public is on production of proof of identity, which must contain a photograph, e.g. passport, driving licence, student university ID, British Library or National Archives Network card. 

Bags: Bags cannot be brought into the Reading Room. Most items may be stored in lockers which are free of charge – the keys are available from the enquiry desk. Please note that there are no facilities to store overly large items or bags. 

Personal photography: The use of mobile phones, cameras and recording equipment is not allowed when viewing material from the Photographs Collection. 

Access to material: To view material and to ensure what you want is available before you visit, it is essential that an appointment is made by contacting the team at the Photographs Collection on +44 (0)20 7307 3710/3684 (phone line open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 5.30pm) or by emailing Photo@riba.org before any visit. 

 

  

Display of drawings from the RIBA's collections
Display of drawings from the RIBA's collections

Drawings and Archives Collections

Until 2017, due to construction work being carried out at the V&A, access to the RIBA Study Rooms is restricted and is by advanced appointment only (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). There will be no access to material held within our outstore from 5 January 2015 until late Spring 2015. 

Opening times

Location: RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Entry: Entry to the Study Rooms is free, but must be booked in advance by telephoning the Study Rooms on +44 (0)20 7307 3708 (phone line open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 5pm) or by emailing  drawings&archives@riba.org .  

Procedure for the visiting the Study Rooms, V&A

Arrival

Once an appointment has been arranged, researchers will be collected and escorted into the building at 10.15am and 2.15pm. There will be a morning or afternoon appointment (with the opportunity to work through the whole day). The Meeting Point for the collections is the landing space outside the National Art Library, level 3. Researchers can bring their coats and bags with them to the Study Rooms where coat racks and lockers will be available. Please note, there is some stairs on route so please let us know in advance if you have any access requirements. If you arrive later than these times, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to arrange for you to be collected on demand as this depends on staff availability. However, if you know that you are unable to arrive for these times, please contact us in advance.

Lunch breaks and leaving

The Study Rooms will close for lunch between 1pm and 2.15pm. Visitors will be escorted out at 1pm and those who have booked an all-day session can join the afternoon collection at 2.15pm to be escorted back in. The Study Rooms close at 5pm. If you need to leave the Study Rooms outside of these times, please let us know on the day and we can arrange for you to be escorted back to the public areas of the museum.

Restrictions

There will be several retrieval times on the day for material. However, depending on the nature of the material, we may have to restrict the amount. As a guideline, researchers can request up to five items (e.g. boxes or folders) per retrieval.

Noise

Unfortunately there may be considerable noise from the works during this period in the Study Rooms. We apologise for this and any other inconvenience caused with the new access and operational procedures and thank you in advance for your patience and co-operation. These procedures will be reviewed and updated on a periodic basis, so before travelling please confirm current details by checking our information on admissions or phoning the Study Rooms on +44 (0)20 7307 3708.

Readers are asked to read and sign the reader information form before requesting to view any material from the Drawings and Archives Collections. 

PDF Reader information form 
File size: 123 kB

Personal photography: Readers may photograph certain materials within the Reading Rooms of the British Architectural Library, free of charge and for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study only

Access to material: Materials from these collections are held in stores both at the V&A and off-site at our outstore.

V&A materials should be requested at least a day in advance and you can book an appointment by telephoning the Study Rooms on +44 (0)20 7307 3708 (phone line open Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm) or by emailing drawings&archives@riba.org .Visitors can bring pencils, paper and laptop computers to make notes (ink is not allowed). 

Material held within our outstore will be temporarily restricted from 5 January 2015 until late spring 2015. There will be no access for researchers to visit the outstore during this period and staff will be heavily restricted with the items that can be retrieved for viewing in the Study Rooms at the V&A. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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