Archives & Library

How to Access

The Paul Mellon Centre’s Archives and Library collections are open to everyone and there is no charge for accessing the materials. To make the process as straightforward as possible, we have provided a large amount of information online. We strongly urge anyone interested in our collections to consult these online resources prior to contacting us.

When you have identified that the Paul Mellon Centre holds Archive & Library material of interest, you may wish to continue your research by consulting this material in person. All Archives & Library material – with the exception of the Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive – is consulted in a dedicated space in our building at 16 Bedford Square: the Public Study Room. You will need to book an appointment to use this space. Please note that the Public Study Room is solely for the use of those who are consulting Archives & Library collections.

Opening Hours

We are open for appointments:

Library material

Tuesday – Friday, 10.00–17.00

Archives, Tate Photographic Archive and Library Special Collections material

Tuesday – Thursday, 10.00–13.00 and 14.00–17.00

Details of closures are available on our Visit Information page.


Anyone wishing to consult any Archives & Library material in person at the Centre must first register as a reader. Registration involves:

  • Completing a Reader Agreement Form
  • Showing ID when you first visit (a bank card, or driving licence will suffice)
  • Undertaking a short Induction

The Reader Agreement Form is completed in person on site when you visit. It involves agreeing to the Centre’s Rules Governing Access to our Collections and agreeing to observe various responsibilities related to copyright and the General Data Protection Regulations. A member of staff will be on hand to explain any questions you might have.

You will not be issued with a Reader card, but your details will be added to our systems in order to facilitate access to the material. Registration is valid for six years.

Return Visits

If you are already registered, please Contact Us to book an appointment in our Public Study Room. In order to be certain that the material you wish to consult is available and ready for you when you visit, we recommend that you book at least two working days prior to your visit. Same day appointments can be accommodated for registered readers but we cannot guarantee that all material will be available. Our email inbox will be checked twice a day.

When booking an appointment you will need to consult our opening hours and our Online Catalogues and tell us:

  • your full name/the name under which you registered
  • when you would like to visit
  • what you would like to consult.

We will be in touch to confirm your appointment.

Other Services We Offer

If you would like to make an enquiry please contact us.

If you would like to request copies of Archives & Library material please complete our Request for Copies procedure.