How to book

Our Search Room is open but booking is essential.


  • Searchroom seat bookings and document ordering must be made 3 working days in advance.
  • Capacity of the search room is reduced to three readers at any one time and dividing the day into two bookable sessions: (1) 9-12.45 and (2) 1.15-4.00. You are able to book both sessions.
  • You should book your documents three working days in advance of your visit. The notice is to give us time to get the documents ready. Please note that surrogates of documents (on microform and digital copies on hard drives) are counted as documents and will be subject to the same requirement of three working days’ notice. Please note you will not be able to order documents on the day of your visit.
  • We will quarantine all material used for 72 hours. This may mean that some material may initially be unavailable for your appointment.
  • Booking is made by emailing [email protected], please supply your library card number and a personal telephone number when you book. We need this to ring you the day 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 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.
  • Copying services will not be available on the day but can be processed after the documents you have seen have been quarantined for 72 hours.

Browsing of reference books and paper catalogues

  • We regret we cannot currently permit browsing of the bookshelves and microfilm cabinets in the search room or the local history areas of the Kent History and Library Centre. 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 with three working days’ notice (in the same way as with archival documents), and we will reserve them for you.

Search Room Computers and Microfilm Reading Machine

  • The Search Room computers (1) for using our online catalogue and (2) for viewing tithe maps via an external hard drive 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 to archive readers.
  • The settees and tables outside the search room will be available as normal but may be busier than normal. Please consider your fellow readers in observing social distancing in this area and wear a face covering.