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Using the Library’s collections

Learn how to request collection items for use within the Library and how to find and explore our online material.

Getting started

Use the catalogue to find material in the Library's collections, including articles, books, photographs, maps, manuscripts and much more.

For more information, troubleshooting tips and detailed how-tos, refer to help using our catalogue page.

Because we are a reference library, we can't lend you books to take home. However, many of our collection items are available online.

You can reserve collection items for use within the Library, access thousands of e-resources, and order copies and extracts of collection items by becoming a Library member.

How to request material

The Library has over five million items and counting. Some items are available from the shelf, while others are stored in different places. The catalogue shows the locations of every item and tells you how to request access if the item is in storage.

Members can reserve collection items to use in the Library for a set period (up to seven days, depending on the item).

For delivery details, view our current collection retrieval times.

Learn more about finding, requesting and deliveries.

How to access Heritage Collections items

Heritage Collections items can be ordered through a librarian and accessed by appointment in the Heritage Collections Reading Room. All Heritage Collection items will be available from two business days after your request.

Before making a request, read our guide to visiting the Heritage Collections Reading Room.

To order Heritage Collections items such as manuscripts, maps, hardcopy newspapers, pictures and rare books, contact us via the Ask a Librarian service.

How to request copies of collection items

Copies of collection items that aren't already digitised can be ordered directly through the catalogue using our Direct Delivery service.

For more information on what can be copied, how to place an order and pricing information, view our guide to ordering copies of collection items.