New Special Collections Reading Room!

We’re pleased and excited to announce that we open a new Special Collections Reading Room on Monday 24 September here at George IV Bridge.

We have long wanted to improve the facilities we offer to people who visit our library to consult rare books, manuscripts, music, and other special collections and our new Special Collections Reading Room, on level 15 at the top of the building, allows us to do just that. The new SCRR will offer:

A room with a view: the new SCRR

A room with a view: the new SCRR. The door to the consultation room is on the left.

  • 36 reader spaces, larger than the reader spaces in our current home, all with power sockets for readers’ computers and wifi access
  • a plan table for looking at outsize items
  • a consultation room for audio material and reader discussions
  • networked computers for consultation of Library catalogues, digital collections and other electronic resources, linked to a printer
  • windows with a panoramic view of Edinburgh – a particular treat for anyone familiar with the North Reading Room…

While this new reading room will offer an improved and more secure environment for the consultation of library materials, some things will remain the same:

  • all the existing finding aids and catalogues available in the current reading room
  • a Duty Curator will be on hand to provide expert advice and assistance
  • all the existing equipment, including the Aladdin reader, microfilm reader and cold light source, will move to the new reading room
  • opening hours will remain the same; delivery times may be slightly delayed as we adjust to the new procedures but there will be no big changes; all procedures for ordering material will remain the same

From Monday morning, if you would like to consult rare books, manuscripts, music and other special collections, please follow the following procedure:

  •  if this is your first visit, go to Reader Registration on level 11 to obtain a library card
  • check outdoor bags and coats in the cloakroom as usual
  • take the public lift from level 11 (Visitor Centre/cafe) to level 15 (SCRR)
  • at the new security point on level 15, present your library card: as happens at the level 13 security point, staff will be checking library cards and other material brought into the reading room
  • you can now ask the Duty Curator for help at the Enquiries point, or go directly to the new issue/return desk to order material or collect items you have on reserve
  • when you leave, please show bags, notes, etc to the staff at the security point as on level 13, and take the lift to exit
The new issue desk and plan table

The new issue desk and plan table

We hope that our readers find the new reading room a better place to work and welcome your comments. We will be regularly reviewing how the SCRR works in the first few months, so please do give your feedback to the staff who work there, or email to can find more information on our Special Collection Reading Room webpages.