Visiting the library
The library at Salisbury Cathedral was founded in 1445 to support the private study and research of the canons and priests of the cathedral and diocese: today the library is still a private collection. However we want to share our book collection as widely as possible so individual visitors with a genuine research interest or enquiry are welcome to visit in order to carry out their own research.
Access to study any specific book(s) should be arranged in advance with the library and archive staff via the contact details at the bottom of the home page. As our staffing resources are limited please give as much advance notice as possible. So that we can assist you fully please outline your area of interest with your initial enquiry. A letter of introduction or a reference will be required to consult any manuscript or book dated earlier than 1800: some books may be unavailable due to their physical condition. Surrogate copies are available of the manuscript books: these should be consulted in the first instance.
If you don't wish to study a particular book but have a general interest in the library then you are very welcome to attend our regular events focusing on the collections. These include free talks, occasional library open days and other special events. You can also book a place on our monthly specialist library tours followed by a cream tea. For further information about library and archive events please see the events section of the Cathedral's main website.
Potential visitors should be aware that access to the library is only possible via a 37 step stone spiral staircase: we will endeavour to provide alternative arrangements for visitors wishing to consult specific books and requiring step free access. All library researchers are required to sign the Library User Agreement.
Visiting the archive
The archive collection is not kept in the library but in a separate building within the Cathedral Close. As with the library all requests to visit the archive should be made in advance via the contact details at the bottom of the home page. A letter of introduction or a reference will be required to consult any document dated earlier than 1800. A closure period applies to records less than 30 years old. All archive researchers are required to sign the Archive User Agreement. Please also see the Archive Access Policy.