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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

Urgent update about COVID-19

Due to the government advice to limit social contact at this time, our public buildings at 66 Portland Place and RIBA North, and our study rooms and Architecture Gallery at the V&A are currently closed. You can see some of the RIBA Collections in our online image library.

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.

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

The safety of our staff and visitors is our highest priority. We look forward to welcoming the public back to our sites when we are safely able to do so, but visitors are advised that this will not be before the end of 2020.  

We are working hard on making our buildings safe so that we can reopen for our staff and visitors in a phased approach. 

While our physical sites are closed, we continue to offer the following library and cultural services:

The following sites and services are currently closed:

  • 66 Portland Place, including the Library, Architecture Gallery, bookshop and bar
  • RIBA North, including the galleries, café and shop
  • The RIBA Architecture Study Rooms, and Architecture Galleries at the V&A
  • The RIBA Collections outstore at the Piper Centre

To keep up to date with our reopening plans, bookmark this page to check for updates, and sign up to our newsletters.

Visitor information

Admission
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.

Accessibility
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 1pm and 2pm to 5pm

Members information line, open Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm +44 (0)20 7307 3600

Start your search

Search and locate catalogued material across our collections through the online catalogue.

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