Reading at NLW

The National Library of Wales Guidelines for Readers - Restricted Access

Protecting the health and safety of our staff and readers is our main priority. We therefore ask you to read these guidelines carefully before visiting.

Everyone will be expected to abide by these rules and failure to do so will result in you being asked to leave the premises.

Which services are available?

A restricted service is provided in our Reading Room and you will need to book your visit online.

Readers with an Online Reader's Ticket will need to upgrade to a Full Reader's Ticket on their first visit.

We will open for two sessions daily from Monday to Friday:

  • 10.00 – 12.30
  • 13.30 – 16.00

Entry will be limited to 9 readers at a time.  

How do I book my visit to the Reading Room?

You will need to make your request to visit the Reading Room a week in advance using the Library Booking System.  

Once accepted you will be issued with an agreed time slot for your visit.  

How do I order items from the collections?

You will be able to order items in the usual way using the Library Catalogue, but you will need to order materials at least 48 hours (or 2 working days) before your visit.  

You will not be able to order any items to view on the day of your visit.

Please note that you will also need to pre-order items held on the open shelves and that readers will not be allowed to access any items themselves.

You will be restricted to 10 items.  

If you intend to return in the same week, then items can be put on reserve.

Day of visit 

Order by 


Wednesday the previous week 


Thursday the previous week 


Friday the previous week 





What should I bring with me?

You will need to bring a face mask, which you are required to wear for the duration of your visit for your own protection and the protection of other readers and Library staff.

If for health reasons you are unable to wear a mask, you will be excused from doing so, but you will be required to bring a visor with you to wear in the building. There will be no exceptions for any other reasons.

Please bring your own laptop if you can. You should also bring your own paper and pencils. 

Will there be access to all the collections?

There will be access to most of the collections in the Reading Room.

We will let you know if the material you have requested is not available.

There will not be self-service available for microfilms, microfiche or items from the open shelves, requests will have to be made in advance.

Will terminals be available?

A small number of terminals will be available for basic research or for accessing non-print legal deposit material.  

We strongly urge you to bring your own laptops, if possible. There will be full access to the Library’s Wi-Fi.

Will it be possible to make photocopies?

No, it will not be possible to make photocopies for the time being.  

For this period alone we will waive the fee for taking photos with your own phone or camera in the Reading Room. All copyright restrictions will still apply.

What should I do if I feel unwell during my visit?

If you develop a high temperature or a persistent cough while at the Library, you should take the following steps:

  • Inform a member of our staff
  • Avoid touching anything
  • Return home immediately

You must follow the guidance on self-isolation and not return to work or the Library until the period of self-isolation has been completed.

Will help/advice be available?

It will be possible to communicate with staff in the Reading Room but it will not be possible to provide a comprehensive service.  

We ask you to continue to make use of the (restricted) Online Enquiries Service.

What to expect on the day of your visit

Entry and exiting the building will be via the lower ground main entrance (by the Reception and Shop).

Please ensure that you follow the guidelines provided below:  

a. There is signage outside the building directing all persons to sanitise their hands regularly by using the sanitising dispensers located at various positions in the Library.  

b. You will be greeted at the Library by a member of the Security Team where your body temperature will be taken using a thermal imaging camera. Your temperature must be below 37.5℃ to gain entry.

c. On arrival at the Library, all readers will be expected to complete a short questionnaire in accordance with the Welsh Government’s track and trace policy.

d. You are required to wear a face mask for the duration of your visit for your own protection and the protection of other readers and Library staff.

e. The 2-metre social distance rule came into existence on 7 April 2020. You must adhere to this rule during your visit as this is Law in Wales.

f. Lockers will be available to you on the Main floor. These are cleaned thoroughly after each use.

g. All invited readers will be assigned a workstation which will be for your use only during your visit.

h. Should you feel the need to cough or sneeze and you do not have tissues, please ensure you cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

Hand Washing

Hand washing facilities with soap and hot water are provided in the rest rooms. All visitors will ensure stringent hand washing takes place for at least 20 seconds at a time.

Paper towels for drying of hands are provided. Hand sanitisers are also provided in various locations.

Social Distancing

All visitors are to adhere to social distancing rules. This reduces the number of persons in any work area to comply with the 2-metre (6.5 foot) gap recommended by Public Health Wales.  


Anyone who either has a high temperature or a new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) should not visit the Library, but must follow the guidance on self-isolation.

Person at increased risk

Anyone who is at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (Covid-19) is strongly advised to stay at home and should be particularly stringent about following social distancing measures.


The measures necessary to minimise the risk of spread of infection rely on everyone taking responsibility for their actions and behaviours.  

Please adopt an open and collaborative approach with our staff whilst at the Library and discuss any issues openly so they can be addressed in a positive and respectful manner.

Have our Guidelines answered all your questions about visiting the Library?

You may also have comments on the measures that we've put in place or concerns that you'd like us to address.

We'd be grateful if you would let us know by completing our Digital Services Questionnaire. Please note in Question 6 that you're commenting on our Guidelines for Readers.

Your feedback will help us to improve our service to our readers. 


First published: 21 August 2020

Last updated: 2 August 2021