All visitors to Archives and Local History must now book an appointment in advance, and order the archives and microfilms they wish to consult in advance. No additional orders can be made on the day of your appointment.
Please see below for further details, or make an online appointment for the Archives Reading Room, Local History study spaces or microfilm readers.
You can also watch our reopening video about the changes we now have in place.
Essential building work at York Explore Library
Work will begin on the 21st September to replace the slate roof of York Explore. This work is essential to maintain the fabric of the building and is scheduled to last approximately 10 weeks. During this time we anticipate some disruption, including noise, particularly in the Archives and Local History area on the first floor. We thank you for your patience during the scheduled work.
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
Our Archives Reading Room will reopen to the public on 7 October 2020.
Monday: 10.30am – 3.30pm [closed 12.30pm to 1.30pm for cleaning]
Wednesday: 10.30am – 3.30pm [closed 12.30pm to 1.30pm for cleaning]
Friday: 10.30am – 3.30pm [closed 12.30pm to 1.30pm for cleaning]
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. Bookings must currently be made in advance, and you must also request the archives you want to consult in advance. If have any questions about your research, please contact us for advice and we’ll be happy to answer them.
Archives researchers are limited to six archives items per half-day booking, and no further items will be available on the day. This is to allow for strict quarantining of the documents between researchers.
Family History Room
Monday: 10am – 4pm
Tuesday: 10am – 4pm
Wednesday: 10am – 4pm
Thursday: 10am – 4pm
Friday: 10am – 4pm
Saturday: 10am – 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, although you will need to make a booking for a study space before you visit.
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 you must book a microfilm reader in advance and tell us what you would like to consult. You can make a booking online.