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Information for visitors

The Library and Archives at the Royal Society’s offices in London are open to a limited number of pre-booked readers. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 10am-5pm. For further information and to book, please contact us.

The Library will be closed from Monday 3 July to Friday 7 July inclusive, and on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July.


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. Pre-booking is required - please contact the Library 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).

Forthcoming exhibition

Science century (opening 4 July 2023)

Look back across 100 years of science at the Royal Society and discover some of the scientific demonstrations and innovations presented at the 1923 Conversazione. From high-speed cameras to giant fossils, research was advancing rapidly in the 1920s. The Royal Society collections team has delved into its archives and collaborated with the Royal Microscopical Society, the John Innes Historical Collections, Kew Gardens and others to recreate the scientific exhibition displayed a century ago.

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