Information for Visitors

Members of the Public are welcome to use our library. You will need to show some photographic identification and fill out a short form for us so that we can issue you with a day pass. Day passes can be obtained from the Reception Desk during our staffed opening hours and will allow access through the turnstiles until midnight each day.

If you are going to visit us regularly and would like to borrow up to 2 books at a time then you can join the Library as an external member free of charge. 

If you have any questions about visiting our Library please contact us.

Children and Young Adults under 18 

If you are 16 or 17, you can visit the Library unaccompanied, but only by obtaining an external members card.

Children under the age of 16 may only visit the library with an adult, who must accompany them at all times and be responsible for their safety and behaviour. Please note the child will only be admitted on completion of an Accompanied Minors form, these forms may only be obtained from library staff during Reception Desk opening hours. For further information please contact the Library.

Library Information 

Opening Hours 

Library location & directions

Accessibility guide to the Library via AccessAble 

Responsible behaviour in the Library

Making copies for use at home

Library Coffee Shop


Free wifi and open access eresources

You can bring in a mobile device or laptop and access our fast and reliable Guest wifi network and access open access journals, books and research material available on the web. 

There are comprehensive guides to accessing open access resources below: 

The British Library guide to open access resources

The University of Oxford guide to open access resources 

Open access data sources 

JSTOR has a Read Online for Free service which allows anyone read up to 6 free articles online every month (They increased the allowance to 100 per month during Covid and this increased limit is still available). There are also many open access e-books/chapters on JSTOR which are freely available to anyone, along with open access document archives from across the world.

Click these links for resources available online via Portsmouth Public Libraries and Hampshire Public Libraries

Unfortunately we are unable to provide access to printing facilities to visitors. Printing is available in Portsmouth Public Libraries and Hampshire Public Libraries.

Access to Research

Portsmouth and Hampshire public library services have access to the Access to Research scheme, which allows you to access full-text academic articles and papers. You can browse articles from anywhere but need to be logged into a Peoples’ Network computer terminal in a library branch to access full articles. You will need to join the public library service and obtain a library card to access the People’s Network. You can do this online and then pick up your library card from a branch and go onto use the People’s Network. The Portsmouth History Centre, based in the Central Library in Guildhall Square, also pays for access to the British Newspaper Archive, which includes access to many historical articles from local newspapers across the UK.   

Finding books 

Although you can't borrow books as a day visitor (see External Members options if you wish to borrow), you can use them within the Library. You can use the Library Catalogue to search for books. If you need help finding a book on the shelves you can use this handy location tool or ask a member of Library staff at reception. 

Special Collections 

The Library has a number of Special Collections that visitors can access, normally via appointment. To find out more about each collection and how to access it, see the links below: 

The University Archive 

The Map Library

Near and Far World Books (including the Outside In World Children's Books in Translation Collection)

Rare Books Collection 

Lost Property 

If you believe you have lost something in the Library please ask at Reception to see if it has been handed in. You can also email us at or phone us on 02392843228.