Preparing to welcome back visitors: more seats and greater access

We are waiting for clarification of when we will be able to resume our public reading room services and we will share information as we get it. What we can confirm now is that when we do reopen our reading rooms, we will be offering increased capacity and services.

We know that the period since March has been frustrating and challenging for the archives sector and its users, and we recognise the real disappointment and difficulty that current restrictions cause researchers. Over recent months we have been working hard behind the scenes to review and redesign our services in order to offer improvements, while maintaining a COVID-secure environment for our visitors and staff.

As a result of this work, when we are able to re-open to visitors, our reading room services will include:

  • 150 per cent increase in reading room places
  • Daily document limit increased from nine to 12 (plus three reserves)
  • Saturday opening reinstated (as well as Tuesday to Friday)
  • Library material and finding aids available by pre-order
  • New standby list to fill cancellation slots
  • Staffed enquiry desk and access to computers for pre-booked visitors.

All visitors must continue to book their visit and order their documents in advance, including for the standby list. We will initially give priority to those visitors whose bookings were postponed when the current national restrictions came into effect on 5 November, before opening up bookings more widely to everyone. We will email all those affected directly.

We will confirm when these changes will be introduced, and when bookings will reopen, as soon as we have confirmation from government of which alert level (tier) we will be in. Please check our website and social media channels for updates.