Local Studies Library

What is the Local Studies Library?

The Local Studies Library is an open access area where you can carry out research regarding the City of Hull and the local area, as well as your family history. It houses a vast array of Local Studies materials including books, maps, DVDs and videos.

What will I find in the Local Studies area?

The Local Studies Library holds a large selection of over 5000 books relating to Hull and the local area, as well as special book collections on slavery, whaling, Andrew Marvell, Winifred Holtby and Philip Larkin.

The Library hosts public computers so you can access popular family history websites like Ancestry, Find My Past and the British Newspaper Archive, free of charge, as long as you are a member of Hull Libraries. If you're not already a member you can join during your visit.

To make sure there is a chance for everyone to use the PCs, access is limited to a maximum of 90 minutes per day per person. If you wish to print from the PCs charges apply; please see our List of fees for details.

Eight microfilm/fiche readers can be used to access a variety of materials, including local newspapers, Burial Registers for the Hull Municipal Cemeteries, Electoral Registers and census returns.

They are all networked allowing you to print from any machine whilst digital technology allows users to rotate, flip and zoom to read the smallest of text quickly and easily. The machines use touchscreens but a mouse is also available.

If you wish to reserve a microfilm/fiche machine please call us on 01482 317500.

If you wish to print from a microfilm reader charges apply; please see our List of fees for details.


If you have a wifi enabled device there is free wifi throughout the public areas including the library. The password changes each month so look out for notices in these areas.

What can I take into the library?

Laptops and digital cameras can be used but there is a charge for each shot taken with a digital camera and you will be asked to complete a copyright form. Please see our List of fees for details of our charges.

What can't I take into the library?

Food and drink are not permitted in the library area, but there are no other restrictions on what you can take with you. However, we do ask that mobile phones are switched off whilst you are in the library and you respect other users by keeping noise to a minimum.

There is a refreshment area in the arcade where you can sit and enjoy snacks, cold and hot drinks purchased from the coffee trolley.

If you don't want the distraction of carrying and watching your coat, bag and personal belongings you can leave them in one of the secure lockers which can be found in the library area.

How do I use the Local Studies Library?

Staff on the Enquiry Desk are there to point you in the right direction and answer any questions you may have relating to what can be found at the History Centre to aid your research.

However, they are not able to sit and do your research for you and if you need extra help we suggest you attend one of Family History Helpdesk sessions held on the first and Third Thursday mornings of each month (currently suspended due to the pandemic).

You can borrow up to 8 books from the Local Studies Library. If you are not already a member of Hull libraries you will need to bring some proof of name and address (e.g. a current Council Tax or utility bill or a driving licence) so you can join. You do not have to live in Hull to be a member of Hull libraries.

There are card indexes to help you find references to a wide variety of materials held at the History Centre, including reference materials that can be viewed in the searchroom, newspaper articles, and maps.