Accessibility statement

Before you visit

Find out what you need to know before you visit us, including our opening times, document retrieval times, what to bring and how to reach us.

For information about what to expect when you arrive, see:

The archive searchrooms are open Monday to Friday, 9.15am to 4.45pm.

The microform room is open seven days a week, 8am to 10pm.

The microform room will be available as a self-service only during closures.

Please note that we close on Bank Holidays, for a period between Christmas and New Year, and for a few days around Easter. 

We are also occasionally closed for meetings, training and stocktaking, so we advise that you consult our News page and ring ahead to check that we will be open.


Contact the searchrooms on +44 (0)1904 321166.

An appointment is not essential, but we do get very busy sometimes, especially in the microform room (see the section below).

We advise booking if you want to guarantee a space, especially if you are travelling a distance to visit us.

See the Prepare for your visit tab for details about document issue times and pre-ordering materials.

Evening visits

Evening visits to use archive material in the searchrooms are possible by arrangement.

If you would like to make an arrangement to use archives in an evening please email us to discuss how we can help you:You will need to give at least two weeks' notice, and order archive material in advance of your visit, since it will not be possible to get out additional material from the strongrooms during the evening.

Microform room

The microform room is open the same hours as the Raymond Burton Library.

Please note that after the Borthwick's searchrooms are closed there will be no members of staff available to assist you with research in the microform room.

It's a good idea to visit us for the first time during searchroom opening hours so the staff can help you to become familiar with the Borthwick and its facilities.

Exhibition area

The exhibition area is open the same hours as the Raymond Burton Library, and can be found on the third floor.

For information, please see:

These tips and suggestions are designed to help you make the most of your time at the Borthwick:

1. What do you want to find out?

Do you have clear idea of what you want to find out? Try and focus your research questions before you come - this will allow you to make the best use of your time when you get here.

2. What type of records do you want to look at?

Try checking our lists or the online catalogue to make sure we have the records you want.

Ring us if you would like to discuss anything before your visit on +44 (0)1904 321166.

3. Pre-order the material you require

Document issue times

Document issue times are 9.45am, 10.45am, 11.45am, 1.45pm, 2.45pm and 3.45pm.

You can pre-order material so it is available on your arrival.

Please submit your order before 3.45pm on the day before your visit or, if you are planning to arrive over lunch time and would like material available on your arrival, contact us by 11.45am to give us time to get it ready for you.

If you are using photographic material or material from the Atkinson Brierley Archive you will need to give us at least 24 hours notice. This is so we can allow time for acclimatisation, in the case of photographs, and time for conservation assessment in the case of the Atkinson Brierley material.

4. Consider the Data Protection Act and access to materials mentioning people who are still alive.

If you would like to look at material from a period which may mention people who are still alive, please contact us to discuss this.

While material of this date may be available for research there will be data protection considerations and we would not like you to make a special visit to see material which cannot be issued.

5. What should I bring with me?

In order to ensure the continued safety and security of the archives we do ask you to respect our rules about what you can and can't bring into the searchroom. Other items can be stored securely in the lockers in our reception area while you consult the archives.

Before you visit

6. What should I wear?

The searchrooms are deliberately on the cool side for the sake of the archives, which do not like fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

We recommend you bring a jumper or cardigan with you. You will be asked to leave your jacket or coat in the searchroom reception.

7. Find out what to expect when you arrive.

Please read our During your visit page before you visit us.

You will be given additional information on your arrival.

Finding the Borthwick Institute for Archives

The Borthwick shares its entrance with the University Library.

On coming through the main Library entrance, please report to the main Library Reception to obtain a visitor’s entry ticket. Scan this at the turnstiles, bear to the right and either go up the stairs, or use the lift situated at the far end of the corridor, to the first floor landing.

The archive searchroom reception is on your right.

During our searchroom opening hours please introduce yourself to a member of staff on the Borthwick reception desk on your arrival.

If you are using the microform room out of opening hours you will need to follow the directions above, but once you reach the Borthwick, enter through the door straight ahead of you(this door is locked during main searchroom opening hours).

The Lifelong Learning Rooms, Exhibition Area and staff offices are located on the third floor.

Travelling to the University

By car

For information about getting to us by car please refer to the maps and directions page.

The closest car parks are Campus Central or Campus North.

Campus Central car park

From Campus Central car park you will need to find your way onto the Library bridge which crosses University Road.

There is a ramp onto the bridge and also a lift.

Campus North car park From Campus North car park follow the path around the side and front of the Harry Fairhurst Building until you reach the Library's main entrance.
Campus South car park

Campus South car park is a short walk away but often has free spaces when the others don't.

From Campus South car park you will need to follow the Wayfinders: first follow the directions to other buildings, then, when the Library appears on the Wayfinders, follow directions to the Library.

These car parks are Pay and Display. You may pay by coin or over the phone using Paysmarti

All car parks have disabled parking spaces.

By rail

York is on the main East Coast Line from London King's Cross to Edinburgh. Fast trains leave from both north and south at frequent intervals.

Plan your journey with the iTravel York Journey Planner.

There is also a direct service across the Pennines between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport.

The University is two miles from the railway station and you will need to get a bus or taxi to campus

By bus

You can reach York by coach from many destinations around the country. National Express buses stop at the railway station.

The main service to the University campus is the UoY66 which departs from the railway station. The scheduled journey time from the railway station to Heslington is 20 minutes. A number of other services travel to the University campus - please check the University bus routes pages for more information on routes, service numbers, and fares.

When the bus reaches the University campus you will need to alight under the large concrete bridge on University Road.

To reach the Borthwick Institute either take the stairs from the bus stop or cross the road then re-cross it using the large concrete bridge. The Borthwick is accessed via the University Library, in the large building straight ahead of you.

By taxi

The closest dedicated stop for the Borthwick is the Information Centre. You will then need to follow the line of shops and turn left onto the bridge which leads over the road.

The Borthwick is accessed via the University Library, in the large building straight ahead of you.

Some short stay accommodation is available on campus.

See the University's Bed and Breakfast pages for information.

Access to the building

Please report to the main Library Reception on arrival to obtain a visitor’s entry ticket. Scan this at the accessible entry gate on the gate line to be let through. A member of staff will open the gate for you on exit.

Access within the building

A lift is available to the searchrooms and teaching rooms.

Within our searchrooms and microform rooms we have adjustable height tables.


If you have a mobility impairment and are coming by car, we recommend you park in one of the following locations, which can be found on the campus map:

  • Campus Central Car Park, where there is a lift to take you onto the Library Bridge
  • Campus North Car Park, where there is a lift in front of the Harry Fairhurst Building which you can use to access the path round to the University Library main entrance

If you are at all uncertain about the route, please telephone +44 (0)1904 321166 to let us know when you intend to visit and if necessary we can arrange to meet you at your car.

Induction loops

Induction loops are installed in our lifelong learning rooms and the searchroom office.

Accessible toilets

Accessible toilets are available on the ground floor of the Raymond Burton Library - the entrance is just by the stairs to the Borthwick searchrooms.

Assistive dogs

Assistive dogs are welcome in our reception, searchroom and lifelong learning spaces.