IMPORTANT Read the RIBA's latest COVID-19 advice and information | Website terms of use and cookie statement

The RIBA Library Reading Room

Photo of reading room

Home to our books, periodicals and photographs

Search and locate catalogued material across our collections

Latest update on visiting the RIBA Library and Drawings and Archives collections

We are delighted to announce that from 2 July 2021, subject to government guidelines, we will begin a phased reopening of 66 Portland Place: 

  • From 2 July, our current exhibition ‘Freestyle: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media’ will reopen on Fridays and Saturdays between 10am – 5pm, by appointment only. To book your tickets, please visit here.
  • From 9 July our Library will reopen on Fridays between 10am – 5pm, by appointment only. Booking instructions can be found here.
  • We regret that the RIBA Drawings and Archives Study Room (based at the V&A) remains closed for the time being. Please check this page regularly for further updates.

Read more about what we're doing to support our members during the pandemic

The following online resources are still available:

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

  • the bookshop and bar at 66 Portland Place, London
  • RIBA North in Liverpool, including the galleries, café and shop
  • the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The RIBA Library Reading Room

Our reading room offers access to the 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.

Visitor information

Admission is free and open to all. 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
The reading room holds a mix of open and closed access materials, with timed retrievals at 12pm and 3pm. Some recent journals may be offsite at the binders, so please contact us in advance to check availability of these. Access to photographs must be arranged by appointment.

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

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.

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.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown we are unable to offer our remote copying service for books and periodicals at the present time. Thank you for your understanding.

Photocopiers, scanners and free Wi-Fi are available.

Loan Library
Around 4,000 books are available for loan by RIBA members, including student members. These books are closed access and can be retrieved on request. We are unable to retrieve loan books on Tuesday evenings or Saturdays.

Contact us

Public information line, open Monday to Friday, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm

Members information line, open Monday to Friday, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm +44 (0)20 7307 3600

Start your search

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

keyboard_arrow_up To top