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Use the Library or Visit Us

Library Reading Room

The Library of the Linnean Society of London is open to Fellows and the general public free of charge.

Readers are asked to get in touch before their visit.

We may have groups visiting or the Library may occasionally be used for functions.

Society meetings may make the Library temporarily unavailable as a place for study.

We are a small team, and if we know in advance what material you are interested in, this will help us to prepare and retrieve material to make your visit more successful.

Tours & Group Visits

If you are a group interested in a tour of the Library and Linnaean Collections, please complete our Online Form.

We offer general tours for interested individuals. Please check the Events banner on our Homepage for details.

Contact Us


Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00-17:00

Email: The Library of the Linnean Society of London

Tel: +44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 23

Location & Access

The Library is on the first floor of the Society’s rooms in Burlington House, which is a Grade II listed building.

The Library can be reached via the main staircase, and a lift provides additional access.

Opening Hours

The Library is open to members and the public on Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, and at other times when Society meetings are taking place.

It is closed at weekends, on public holidays, and over the Christmas/New Year period.


Linnaean library close up

The Library's Online Catalogue includes all printed books, as well as off-prints and reprints, most portraits and some of our illustrations and artwork. Selected manuscripts are also included, in particular Society Papers.

The Online Catalogue does not currently include our journal holdings.

Separate card catalogues and shelf-lists are available for pamphlets, manuscripts, illustrations and serials. Please contact us if you are interested in this material.

The Linnaeus Link Project is an international collaboration between libraries with significant holdings of Linnaean material. Led by the Linnean Society of London, its main aim is to produce a comprehensive, online Union Catalogue of Linnaean publications to facilitate research for scholars worldwide, enabling them to identify locations and details of titles with a single internet search.


Fellows and Associate Members of the Linnean Society of London residing in the British Isles can borrow up to six books from the Library.

Although the Library Catalogue will currently show “standard loan” for all items, please note that as a general rule the following books are not available for loan:

  • Books published before 1850
  • Items containing original artwork or hand-coloured illustrations
  • Oversize or fragile books
  • Items containing or consisting of manuscript material, including annotations
  • Books that are exceptionally rare
  • Items that are highly valuable
  • Books with an important provenance or association
  • Any other items as specified by the Librarian

Loans are for one month, and renewable if not required by another user.

Books can be borrowed by Recorded Delivery post, postage both ways to be paid by the borrower.

There are reciprocal borrowing agreements with the other Burlington House Societies. Fellows of other neighbouring Societies may be allowed to borrow books. If you wish to use another Society’s library, please inform Library staff.

Library Rules

Users are asked to sign the Visitors’ Book at the entrance to the Library.

  • Bags and coats must be left in the cloakrooms in the basement.
  • Eating, drinking and the use of mobile phones and pagers are not permitted in the Reading Room while Library material is being consulted.
  • Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building.
  • Access to manuscripts requires prior notice, as some may not be available at short notice. Readers will be asked to sign the manuscript consultation book
  • The use of pens is forbidden when manuscripts are being consulted. Pencils can be provided on request.
  • No photography (including using mobile phone cameras) is allowed without permission of Library staff.
  • Book support pillows, gloves and book weights will be provided when Library staff deem it necessary, and should be used as instructed.
  • Table lamps should be switched off when not in use.
  • Please let Library staff know if you are taking a break or if you are leaving for the day.
  • Access to the library of Linnaeus and other rare material shall be at the discretion of the Librarian.

A PDF with a summary of the procedures for consulting Rare Books and Manuscripts can be viewed and downloaded: Consulting rare material


Archive Room

Laptop computers may be used in the Reading Room, but overseas visitors are advised to bring their own UK adaptors. There are six power sockets.

Wireless Internet access is available throughout the building. Please ask Library staff for the password.

There is also a Computer available in the Reading Room to access the online Library Catalogue, the Online Collections and the Society’s Webpages.

A photocopier may be used at the discretion of Library staff in accordance with copyright law and considering the suitability of material to be copied. A fee may be charged.

There are no public printing facilities available.


Photography (including own photography), scanning and photocopying

There are various options for obtaining and using reproductions of Library and Collections material.

For a summary of our policies and of how to request images, please click HERE.