How you can access our Collections

Congregational Library Access Regulations.  

You are welcome to visit the Congregational Library to consult its collections. However, you must contact the Library in advance of your visit in writing. Your request should be emailed to [email protected]. Access is conditional on your agreeing to its regulations by signing this form. The regulations are in place to protect the collection and to allow us to provide an efficient and helpful service. The Congregational Library has a temporary reading room situated in the hall of Trinity Congregational Chapel, London SW2 1NF. This is an accessible building, but if you have particular access requirements please contact the library prior to your visit.

On Arrival:

Register and/or sign-in at the reading room desk. For security reasons, bags (including laptop bags and hand bags) are not allowed in the Reading Room, but must be left in the adjacent hall. A transparent bag will be provided for any items you want to take into the library and, if required, another such bag for a laptop computer. Please wash your hands before consulting the collection.

Requesting Materials:

Requests for items from the collection should be emailed to library staff.  TWO WEEKS’ NOTICE is necessary as books and manuscripts will need to be called out of storage and delivered to the Brixton reading room. Consultation with staff (remotely or in person) is required for access to archival collections. The Library’s catalogue of printed books is available online at Lists of the Library’s manuscript and archive collections can be found on the library’s web site at  Please feel free to discuss your research subject with library staff, as they may be able to suggest resources that you have not considered.

Manuscript and rare book readers will need to register for a reader’s ticket. We ask that you bring a passport or photographic national identity card or photographic driving licence, and one other item such as a bank statement, utility bill or tax correspondence evidencing your current address. Tickets must be shown on each visit to view manuscripts and rare books. A limit of 3 items can normally be ordered on one day, unless by special arrangement with archive staff. New manuscript/rare book readers will be requested to undergo a 10-minute training session on how to handle manuscripts and rare books.

Conduct in the Reading Room:

No pens, erasers or coloured pencils are allowed in the Reading Room. Pencils are on sale at the issue desk.
No food or drink (including water, chewing gum, and cough sweets) is permitted.
Readers wishing to use electronic devices (laptops, tablets etc) will be accommodated where possible, but use will be at their own risk and subject to signing the appropriate disclaimer forms. Mobile phones must be set to silent; personal audio devices must not be audible to others and the use of video or audio recording devices is not permitted.
All reprographic work is undertaken by library staff and subject to copyright law and good preservation practice. Requests for reprographic work (photocopying, scanning and photography) should be made using the form(s) available at the issue desk and online.
You are responsible for safeguarding the condition of all items delivered to you. If you need advice on handling fragile materials, please ask the library staff. Before leaving for the day, please be prepared to show any items to the library staff to be checked.