frequently asked questions

You’ll find the answers to our most of the Library’s frequently asked questions in this section. If you have a question that has not been answered, then please do contact our library team at or call us on 020 7290 2940/2941.

Also included are some very useful YouTube media guides on how to use the Library's services.



Library services


About the Collection




Can anyone use the RSM Library?
The Library is for members only. To access the Library, RSM members need to touch in with their membership card at the Library gates.

People who have applied to be members of the RSM but have not yet been formally accepted must bring their letter of acceptance from the RSM and a proof of ID. Guests are not allowed into the IT Study Centre, which is restricted to RSM members only.

Are temporary library memberships available?
Yes, the RSM has Individual, Corporate and Temporary Library Memberships available for the public. For more information and to apply, click here.

Where is the RSM Library located?
The Library entrance is on the 1st floor of the RSM’s London premises at 1Wimpole Street. Get directions here.

What are the opening hours?
The Library is open 9am – 9pm Monday – Thursdays, 9am – 5.30pm on Fridays, and 10am – 4.30pm on Saturdays.

The 1st floor of Library and the IT suite is also open 24/7. This includes access to 17 computers, over 20 desk spaces for work and study, and access to the modern book collection going back 10 years.



How many items can be borrowed?
Members may borrow 8 items at any one time. Those who have applied to join the RSM, but have not yet been formally accepted, may only borrow items once they have become full members of the RSM.

How long can I borrow an item for?
Books can be borrowed for 4 weeks and journals for 2 weeks. We do not allow journals to be borrowed for the first year since publication; the only exceptions for this are the JRSM, Lancet, BMJ, JAMA and NEJM.

Can I renew items?
Yes. Items may be renewed up to three times by phone or email. After this the item must be brought back to the Library to renew the loan in person, should you still need the item. If an item has been reserved by another member then it will be unavailable for renewal.

How can I reserve an item?
If the catalogue shows that an item is on loan to someone else, you can contact the Library and the item can be reserved for you. We will notify you when it comes in and hold it at the desk for two weeks, or post it if you would prefer.

Will I be fined if a book is returned late?
No, but if a book is over 6 weeks late we will issue an invoice for the replacement cost of the item, as well as a £20 administration fee. This administration fee remains payable even if the item is subsequently returned.

We send two overdue reminders to people with overdue books: one after one week and one after three weeks before we issue this invoice. If books are not returned on time or invoices are not paid, we will withdraw borrowing privileges and access to services until the matter is resolved. This may also impact on your ability to remain an RSM member.


Library services

Are electronic publications available?
We have a growing range of databases, e-journals and e-books, all which are available to members both at the Library and via remote access. You can see our full range of e-resources here.

How do I access the electronic resources?
In order to access full text e-journals, databases and e-learning items, members need to:

  • Login to the RSM website. 
  • Then go to the educational resources page.
  • Then click on the relevant e-resource area you require. 

This takes you through to the e-resources area, where you will be given a choice of links and issues to explore further.

How can I check if the Library has the articles I require?
You can search the Library’s catalogue for books, articles and journals using the quick search tool on the website.

Alternatively you can contact the Document Delivery team at, who can search the catalogue for you and send it to you via email, post or fax. Prices for Document Delivery start from £3.

Can the Library staff carry out a literature search on my behalf?
We have a qualified team of literature searchers who can carry out searches for you, for a small charge. Find out more about this service here.

I've never searched a database, how do I start?
If you have never searched a database but you wish to learn how, we have PDF help sheets available.

Members new to literature searching can also book a free tutorial with one of our experienced database searching staff, which last about an hour.

We also offer Information Skills Training workshops, at beginner and advanced levels as well as an Evidence Based Medicine course. For further information, please contact

You are the only Library with the book and/or journal I need - can you send me a copy?
We only loan items directly to members of the Society. If you are affiliated with another library then you can ask that library to apply for the item on an inter library loan.

We can also send copies of articles or chapters to people via our Document Delivery service.

You don't hold the journal and/or book I need - can you get it from elsewhere for me?
We have an Inter Library Loan service available to members. Please refer to the website for further information on this service.



Is there a study area in the Library?
Yes. The Library has a silent study reading room, located on the 1st floor of the Library, and seven study carrels on the Mezzanine level. Both areas can be booked in advance by contacting the Library.

When the Library is closed, out of hours IT Study Centre is open 24/7, which give members access to 21 computers, photocopying and printing plus over 20 desk spaces.

Can I photocopy and print items?
Yes. The Library has 3 black and white photocopiers, located on each floor. Printing facilities are also available.

Both services are free for individual members. Corporate library members should contact the Customer Services Manager to arrange an appropriate rate.

Is there internet access in the Library?
The Library has PCs available on each of its 4 floors which give access to the internet and Microsoft Office packages at no extra charge. We also have an Assistive PC equipped with a magnifying viewer to enlarge documents, software which can read aloud recognised text and an enlarged keyboard, screen and mouse. To book this PC in advance, please contact the Library staff.

Can I use my laptop at the Library?
Yes, the Library has power points for laptops available at several desks. There are also cables provided for linking to the internet. Unfortunately due to the large number of different types of laptops, we are only able to offer a limited amount of support, if any problems are encountered.

Is Wi-Fi available?
Yes, this is available free of charge. To access the RSM’s Wi-Fi network, please ask for the passcode at the Library desk.  

Can I use a mobile phone in the Library?
Yes, with discretion and consideration for others using the Library. While we do not entirely ban mobile phones from being used in the Library, we do not allow them to be used in the silent reading room on the 1st floor.

Is it possible to hold meetings in the Library?
The Library is not a suitable place to hold any kind of formal meetings. However, there is a lounge area on the 2nd floor available for quiet informal discussions.

In addition, the Library has a number of meeting rooms available for hire. Find out about hiring a Library meeting room here.


About the Collection

Does the Library acquire new books and journals?
Yes, the Library aims to add a number of new medical books and journals to the collection each year across all specialty areas.

Members are invited to make suggestions for books and journals acquired by the Library. To do this, please email the Collection Management department at

Can I donate books to the Library collection?
Although we welcome suitable donations we are unable to accept everything due to space limitations. Please see our donations guidelines.

If you wish to donate an item, please email our Collection Management department at with a list of the items or call +44 (0)20 7290 2935.

Does the Library sell books?
The Library has a small bookshop where you can buy a selection of second-hand books. We only sell these onsite and do not offer a delivery service. For more information, please email

Does the Library hold images from the Diamond Collection?
Yes. The RSM Library holds 22 originals which date from c. 1850. These can be viewed by request only and the viewing will be invigilated. They often go on loan to museums and galleries around the world for exhibitions, therefore, are not always on site and available.

What is the oldest book in the RSM’s collection?
The oldest book in the collection is 'Opera' by Johannes Mesue, written in 1471, which can be viewed by application only.


contact us

The Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE
T: +44 (0) 20 7290 2940 / 2941 arrow

library opening hours

Monday - Thursday



24hr service
The library 1st floor and IT suite are available 24hrs a day.

Call the library:
+44 (0)20 7290 2940 / 2941 arrow