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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

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 have begun a phased reopening.

  • our Library is open on Fridays from 10am to 5pm, by appointment only. Please follow the booking instructions to arrange an appointment
  • the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms at the Victoria & Albert Museum are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment only. Please email drawingsandarchives@riba.org to arrange an appointment. Please be aware that research capacity is limited to allow for social distancing, so we are currently operating a waiting list
  • the V&A + RIBA Architecture Gallery (Room 128) at the Victoria & Albert Museum is open to the public during museum opening times  
  • our bookshop at 66 Portland Place is open on Fridays from 10.30am to 4.30pm, by appointment only. Please contact bookshop@ribabooks.com to arrange a visit

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

  • the café and bar at 66 Portland Place, London
  • 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
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
While we continue to operate under COVID-secure measures, books and other materials need to be requested in advance of your visit. 

Accessibility
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. 

Photocopiers, scanners 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

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.

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