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National Art Library: Registering for a Reader Ticket

Reader Tickets are valid for use in the National Art Library and in the Blythe House Reading Room, near Olympia.

Anyone can apply for a Reader Ticket, free of charge. They are valid for five years.

Registering in person

When you arrive at the Library you will need to:

  • complete a PC-based application form
  • provide personal identification and proof of address
  • read and agree to abide by the Library's Conditions of Use

Registering online in advance of your visit

Registering online in advance of your visit provides you with a Temporary Reader Number and PIN, which enables you to order items in advance using the Library Catalogue.

On the V&A website you should:

  • read the Library's Conditions of Use
  • go to the NAL Catalogue, click on the 'My Account' tab, then click 'New User'
  • fill in the online registration form
  • make a note of your Temporary Reader Number and PIN
  • remember to bring personal identification and proof of address to the Library to complete your registration

Acceptable forms of identification and proof of address

To complete your registration you must provide personal identification and proof of address. If a single document provides both personal identification and proof of address then this is acceptable. Otherwise you will need to provide one form of documentation from each of the lists below.

Acceptable forms of personal identification (must include your photograph or signature):

  • Passport
  • National Identity card
  • Photo Driving Licence
  • Student identity card
  • Official identification card from recognised place of work (provided it includes a photograph or signature)
  • Bank or credit card
  • British Library ticket

Acceptable forms of proof of address (must include your name and address):

  • Recent utility bill (within last 3 months)
  • Council Tax Bill (valid for current year)
  • State Pension Book
  • Recent bank statement (within last 3 months)

Renewing your reader ticket

Online in advance of next visit

If your Reader Ticket has expired and you wish to request items in advance of your next visit:

  • Re-register via the NAL Catalogue (click ‘My Account’ and then ‘New user/Re-register’) to obtain a temporary number and choose your PIN
  • Please bring your expired ticket with you if you still have it, or proof of identity (you do not need to provide proof of address when renewing your Reader Ticket)
  • You will need to be issued with a new Reader Ticket before consulting collection items

In person

  • Consult a member of staff at the Library Counter to obtain a new Reader Ticket
  • Please bring your expired ticket with you if you still have it, or proof of identity (you do not need to provide proof of address when renewing your Reader Ticket)
  • You can renew your ticket in person up to 3 months before it has expired, or any time after it has expired.

Care of reader tickets and Replacing lost or stolen reader tickets

  • Please let us know if you change your address so that we can update your user record
  • If you forget your Reader Ticket we can issue you with a Temporary Ticket for the day
  • A lost, stolen or damaged Reader Ticket will be replaced free of charge; follow the instructions for Renewing your Reader Ticket above. The repeated loss of Reader Tickets may result in the right of registration being withdrawn.

Requesting material

Once you have registered, either online or in person, you can request items using the Library Catalogue. For further details, see Requesting Material

Collection items available by prior appointment

Certain categories of material can only be viewed by appointment and require a written recommendation, approved by senior staff. These include illuminated manuscripts and some artists' books. Material requiring an appointment is indicated in the Library catalogue. Applications to view this material should be made using our online enquiry form, for consideration by a senior librarian.

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