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The RIBA Library Reading Room

Photo of reading room

Home to our books, periodicals and photographs

Search and locate catalogued material across our collections

Visit the RIBA Library and Collections

We are currently open as follows:

  • the RIBA Library is open Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays, from 11am to 5pm (open Tuesdays from 12pm to 7pm). There is no need to book ahead to access books and journals, but to book Photographs Collections appointments please email To keep updated on evolving library guidelines, please review the Information for Researchers (PDF) document. The library will be closed for planned stock checks and maintenance between 1 August and 9 September.

  • the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms at the Victoria & Albert Museum are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment only. Please email to arrange an appointment. The Architecture Study Rooms will be closed from 1 to 30 of August, reopening on Wednesday 31 August 2022

The following sites and services are closed for the time being. Please check back soon for the latest announcements.

  • RIBA North in Liverpool, including the galleries, café and shop

Library visitor information

Our reading room offers access to books, periodicals, and photographs in the RIBA Collections, with everything from 15th century illustrated texts to the latest architectural journals and photographs from around the world.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome. You will be asked to sign in with a photo ID or RIBA membership card. Food and drink are not permitted in the reading room and bags must be left in the free lockers provided.  

Access to materials
Browsing of open shelves is permitted and you will be able to request closed-access items on the day of your visit.

Step-free access is available by lift to the third floor. Guide dogs are welcome.

Photography, reprographics and Wi-Fi
Photography of books and periodicals is permitted for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study. Please read our personal photography policy before visiting. 

A scanner and free Wi-Fi are available.

Loan Library
Around 4,000 books are available for loan by RIBA Members, including RIBA Student Members. These books are closed access and can be retrieved on request.

Revisiting the Collections
Our items have been collected and catalogued over almost two centuries, with some items dating back to the 15th century. Some materials and descriptions contain outdated and offensive language or need further contextualising. We are working to address this and to ensure that our collections and descriptions are appropriate to our audiences today. For questions or comments, please contact us.

Contact us

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Start your search

Search catalogued material across our collections through the online catalogue, or browse digitised material through our online image library.

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