Using the Reading Rooms

The reading rooms

From Monday 14 February, the reading rooms will be closed on Mondays. This is a temporary measure to help us manage the impact of COVID-19. Find out more

10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday | 9am to 1pm, Saturday | Level one

Our clean, quiet, and well-lit reading rooms on level one give you a place to really dig into the collections. You can also get expert assistance from our helpful staff.

Reading in the Library

The reading rooms are available for all kinds of research. As well as spacious desks and paper-sensitive lighting, we provide computers with broadband internet access. Staff are available throughout the floor.

The reference collections are on hand for easy use, and collection items are delivered throughout the day, except Saturdays.

Delivery times information

Using our collections

Most of the collections are kept in storage, but they can be retrieved at your request. To request items you need to register as a reader with the Library.

Register as a reader

Some Alexander Turnbull Library collections have access restrictions and require permission to be viewed. Find out about the different access statements and the process for clearing permissions.

Access to restricted collections

Reading rooms

We have two public reading rooms. In the General Reading Room you can use the National Library collections. In the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room you can use Alexander Turnbull Library collections. Large format items, and some fragile pieces, can be used in the Heaphy Room on the second floor.

As so many items in the Turnbull collections are one of a kind, we don't allow bags, coats, food or drink, or pens in the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room. We provide lockers and plastic bags for your things.

To preserve the collections for future generations, we ask that you treat them carefully and respectfully. Ask us if you have any questions about object handling.

Staff are on hand to help you with your questions, and can help you make copies of fragile items.

Making copies of fragile items.

Prepare for your visit

You can start using the Library long before you ever reach the building in Molesworth Street. Good preparation can make your research visit more focused and more productive.

Make the most of your visit, and be prepared.

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Come through the main entrance on Molesworth Street, and then come upstairs. The Reading Rooms are on Level One, and our staff will be happy to help you find what you need.

Visiting the National Library

Filming in the reading rooms

Filming in the reading rooms during public opening hours is not permitted. Please contact us to arrange filming outside of these hours.

Film and television production crews should contact us in advance to make arrangements for filming in the National Library building. Some filming will require staff supervision.

Hourly filming fees apply for the filming that requires staff supervision.

Ask a Librarian