German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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Library Regulations

The German Historical Institute library is an academic reference library serving those undertaking research, teaching, studying or looking for specialized information.


The library is open to anyone who has an interest in German history, British-German relations or comparative historiography. Researchers, students and others who wish to access our holdings for academic or professional purposes may receive a pass on their first visit once they have provided their personal details and a passport photo plus a recent proof of address. The use of the library in other cases is at the Head Librarian’s discretion. There is no charge to use the library, and applicants do not require letters of reference or written applications.

General rules and conditions for using the library

All library readers are expected to read and adhere to the following rules and conditions of use:

  • All readers must enter the building via reception where they must sign in with their name and reader pass number. To exit the building, please leave via the ground floor glass door. There is no need to sign out.
  • The library rooms open to readers are located on the ground floor, the first floor and in the basement. The second and third floor, and any areas of the basement marked ‘staff only’, are not open to library readers.
  • During library hours, coats, bags and umbrellas can be left in the cloakroom and personal belongings in cloakroom lockers. The locker key is to be handed in at reception if a reader leaves the building for any length of time. All lockers are to be emptied each day when the library closes.
  • Library staff may ask to be shown the contents of files, bags and lockers and readers must comply with any such request.
  • Readers should behave in such a way that does not disturb the work of others in the library. Please do not talk loudly, and do not use mobile phones except in silent mode.
  • The use of laptops and digital cameras is permitted.
  • Smoking is prohibited throughout the building. Eating and drinking is permitted only in the Common Room. Drinks in sealable containers may be taken into the library rooms.
  • The GHIL library is on open-access shelving, so during opening hours, readers have unrestricted access to all books, and to the journals and books in the basement rolling stacks.
  • During their library induction, library users will be instructed by library staff in the safe use of ladders in the library. Should readers have any problems with the ladders, or have difficulty reaching books on high shelves, they must ask the library staff for assistance, who will be happy to help.
  • Books cannot be taken out on loan. They can only be used in the library. In the event of a reader damaging a book, e.g. by marking or in other ways, then the reader must pay for a new replacement of the book, or in the case of unavailable books, pay for a bound photocopy. Where damage is caused by a reader, the library retains the right to ban the reader from further use of the library. This also applies to any reader who attempts to remove a book from the library.
  • It is not possible to arrange inter-library loans. Readers are welcome to suggest potential new acquisitions.
  • A photocopier/scanner is available for readers. Paper copies incur a charge, and photocopier cards may be purchased at reception. Readers may use the scanner to scan to USB stick; alternatively, readers with access to Android or iOS operating systems can download an app to enable scanning to mobile devices via Wi-Fi. Responsibility for ensuring that copyright law is not breached lies with the person making or ordering photocopies. Valuable or fragile books may not be photocopied by readers.
  • A reader-printer is available for reading and printing copies of microfiches and microfilm. Copies, including print-outs from the digital library, are to be shown and paid for at reception.
  • The GHIL provides access to the internet for the purpose of conducting research only. Access is available at four public computer terminals. In addition, readers may access the internet on their personal devices through the GHIL Guest network. Readers must register at reception to obtain a password to use this service. By accessing the internet readers accept the Internet Use Guidelines of the GHIL.

  • The GHIL cannot be held liable for any loss or damage of money or valuables caused by the unauthorised action of a third party.
  • Safety information on how to evacuate the building case of an emergency is displayed at reception.