How to book

Our Search Room is open but booking is essential.


  • Archive searchroom seat bookings must be made in advance of visiting.
  • Documents can be ordered in advance of your visit, up to 5 items per booked session can be ordered in advance of your visit, more documents can be ordered once on site.  If you wish to prioritise your pre-ordered documents please do inform us by email.  Please note that surrogates (on microform and digital copies on hard drives) are counted as documents and will need to be retrieved by a member of staff.
  • Archive searchroom seat bookings can be made for a morning or afternoon session, (1) 9-12.45 and (2) 1.15-5.00 or for both sessions.
  • Booking is made by emailing [email protected], please supply your library card number and a personal telephone number when you book. We need this in case we need to ring before your visit to confirm your booking.
  • Your name and contact details will be kept for 21 days for NHS Track and Trace purposes.

Accessing the Search Room

  • Please delay your visit if you are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
  • We ask all visitors to the searchroom to read and agree to the Customer Charter 2021 prior to their visit.
  • Visitors to the Kent History and Library Centre including the searchroom must wear a face covering.
  • We ask readers to use the sanitizer each time they come into the room.
  • We are unable to supply pencils and paper, so please bring your own, along with a £1 coin for a locker.

Camera Licences and copying services

  • Camera licences are available but please note we cannot take payments by cash. You may buy one in advance by ringing us with a debit/credit card, or on the day by card.
  • Payments for printing from the microfilm reader/printer will be card only.
  • Print copying services will be available on the day.

Browsing of reference books and paper catalogues

  • We regret we cannot currently permit browsing of the bookshelves and microfilm cabinets in the search room. If you know you want a particular reference book(s), from the search room or from the strong rooms, or a paper catalogue(s), please let us know and we will reserve them for you.

Search Room Computers and Microfilm Reading Machine

  • The Search Room computers for using our online catalogue, for viewing tithe maps via an external hard drive and the microfilm readers need to be booked in advance. Please let us know if you wish to use them. N.B. you may bring your own laptop or mobile phone to consult the catalogue via our Wifi.


  • The public toilets and lockers will be available.
  • The seating area outside of the archive searchroom is available to use .  Please consider your fellow readers in observing the customer charter.