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Information for visitors

The Library and Archives at the Royal Society's offices in London are open to researchers and members of the public. Access is free of charge.

Library opening hours

Open: 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday

Closed: Friday 28 June - Friday 5 July inclusive
Friday 12 July
Friday 19 July - Friday 6 September inclusive

Please read the Rules for readers (PDF) before visiting.

Our collections and research

We have extensive collections of manuscripts, papers and records, books and journals. These published finding aids may assist you in your research. We host several research projects on the history of science.

New readers

New readers are always welcome and it is not necessary to make an appointment.

On your first visit you will need to complete the registration form (DOC) and bring proof of address (such as a utility bill) and photographic identification (such as a passport) with you.

You are welcome to contact us before your visit to ensure you get the most out of it.

Borrowing books

Books in the ‘Biography’, ‘History’, and ‘Fellows in Fiction’ sections may be borrowed for up to 21 days.

Readers are asked to apply for a Reader ID card (PDF) before items are issued. Card-holders may borrow up to 5 books at a time.


Visitors are welcome to take their own digital photographs of material (without flash). Please complete this photography form (DOC) beforehand.

Internet access

Free WiFi is available and computers are provided for access to the Society's online resources.

Disabled access

The Library is located on the Lower Mezzanine floor of the building but is accessible by wheelchair. Please let us know if you have any needs in advance of your visit, so that every effort can be made to assist you.


To make a request for photocopying, please complete this photocopying copyright form (DOC).

Photocopying costs 27p per A4 sheet and 36p per A3 sheet. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or debit/credit card.

All photocopying is carried out at our discretion and is dependent on the age and condition of the material. Material over 100 years old can generally not be copied.

For external orders, there is a minimum charge of £5.00, plus an additional charge for postage and packing (£2.00 for UK orders, £3.00 for overseas). Please contact the library to place an external order.

Inter-library loans

We are able to lend monographs published post-1950. Please read our policy on inter-library loans (DOC).

Current exhibition: Science made visible

From the founding of the Royal Society in 1660 images and objects were an important part of science. The first Fellows created images to communicate new discoveries to their colleagues around the world, as well as to the London public. They also used graphical methods to explore and develop their ideas. Many of these beautiful and striking pictures can still be found in the archives of the Royal Society. This exhibition shows that making and seeing such images were essential for science in the 17th century.

Find out more about visiting the Science made visible exhibition at the Royal Society.

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