We ask visitors to pre-book spaces for our Archives Reading Room and our microfilm readers in advance. If you arrive on the day without an appointment we will do our best to accommodate you, but priority will be given to pre-booked appointments. The exception to this is Saturday when we can only accommodate pre-booked appointments at present.
It’s easy to find our Archives and Local History area on the first floor of York Explore Library Learning Centre, just off Museum Street.
We’re just ten minutes’ walk from York railway station, and FirstBus York routes 1 and 2 stop near the entrance.
Once inside the library, just take the stairs from the entrance lobby to the first floor or use the customer lift.
Archives Reading Room
We ask that you make archive bookings in advance (see below for further details)
Monday: 9.30am to 4.00pm
Tuesday: 9.30am to 4.00pm
Wednesday: 9.30am to 4.00pm
Saturday: 9.30am to 4pm (pre-booked appointments only)
Our Archives Reading Room is where you can view original archives from our collections. You can find out more about what we hold on our collections pages or by searching our archives catalogue. If you’re unsure where best to start or how to search our catalogue, see our getting started page for advice.
You can make an appointment to view our archives using our online booking form. We ask that you make bookings in advance, and that you request the archives you wish to consult in advance. You are able to pre-order up to 6 items before your appointment. Please note that you will be able to order further items during your visit if necessary, except for Saturday appointments when you can only view pre-ordered items. Staff make further retrievals of archives three times a day at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. If you have any questions about your research, please contact us for advice and we’ll be happy to answer them.
Family History Room
Monday: 9am to 8pm
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm
Wednesday: 9am to 8pm
Thursday: 9am to 8pm
Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 9am to 5pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm
Our vibrant Family History room has microfilm readers, public network PCs and a range of family history books, including some stock for children.
If you are new to family history, or if you get stuck, we’ve got a selection of books and services to help you. You can find our more on our Family History page. If you are further on with your research, our PCs in this area offer access to a range of family and local history websites, including free access to Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive. If you have your own laptop or tablet, you can also get these resources for free through the library wifi network.
Our microfilm collection, which consists of a range of council records and local newspapers, is always popular. If you would like to view these resources we ask that you book a microfilm reader in advance. All of our microfilms are self-service. You can make a booking for a microfilm using our online booking form.