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Using our collections

Members are welcome to study in the Library and to use our collections, including our heritage collection. Staff are on hand to assist and to answer enquiries, including by email and telephone.

Accessing the collections 

Our modern West Country collection is on open access and arranged by counties and towns. Members may borrow up to six books (and three DVDs) for a period of one month and items may be renewed if not required by another member. Journals and pamphlets may not be borrowed.

Members can request to see items from our heritage collection, including historic materials relating to the West Country. Several desks in the Inner Library are reserved for users of the heritage collection and staff are on hand to provide book conservation pillows and weights to support the items during use.

We encourage Members to request items in advance by email to [email protected] or by phone 01392 251017.

Reproducing the collections

The copying of materials from our collections, including the use of personal copying equipment such as scanners, is not permitted except at the discretion of the Director of Collections and Research. Members may photograph materials (no flash) in accordance with current UK copyright legislation and for personal non-commercial use only. The Director of Collections and Research will consider requests to publish images of items in the collection.

Study spaces

Members may study in the Library or in the upstairs Reading Room if it is not being used for meetings. A booking system operates at busy times. Refreshments are for sale in the Courtenay Room at the rear of the building.

Research facilities

Wifi is available throughout the Library and there are two PCs and two printers for use by Members; printing costs 10p per sheet for black and white and 20p per sheet for colour. We subscribe to a number of electronic databases, including Ancestry, History Today and Which magazine.

We run an enquiry service for Members by email, phone and in person at the Library desk; non-members pay a small research fee. Library staff will respond to all enquiries within 20 working days.