We subscribe to lots of great information websites – including newspapers, reference books and family history sites such as Ancestry and Find My Past – which you can use free of charge.
- Inside library buildings
You can use all these resources in our libraries, just click the links below.
- Outside library buildings
You can use some of these resources at home on our E-library. You'll need your library card and PIN to sign into our E-library.
If you have any problems using these resources from home, see help using the online reference library.
International family history resources including UK census, birth, marriage and death records, telephone directories and newspapers.
Over 750 million records, including census records 1841 to 1911, births, marriages and deaths, migration records and passenger lists 1793 to 1960, military records and probate index records.
Search the full text of articles, adverts, birth and death notices and images in the Times newspaper from 1785 to 2006. Also search The Sunday Times from 1822 to 2006 for news about the greatest crimes, careers and culture of the last 180 years.
You can search these newspapers together or individually:
Online simulation for learner drivers to practice for the UK's driving theory test.
For people preparing for the Life in the UK or British citizenship tests. Includes online study materials from the Home Office and practice test questions.
Contains 250,000 pages and 750,000 illustrations covering world events such as the Boer war and domestic celebrations including the Great Exhibition of 1851. Highlights include reports by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Agatha Christie.
You can also search this newspaper together with the Times and Sunday Times.
Search the full text of UK broadsheet and tabloid newspapers from 1998 onwards, local papers including the Evening Argus, and international papers such as USA Today.
Full access to the online encyclopedia. Browse the history timeline, magazine articles, atlases, videos and links to other websites.
Explore the lives of more than 57,000 people who shaped Britain's past from the 4th century BC to the year 2002. Search for people, places and organisations, themes such as kings and queens and over 10,000 portraits.
Directory of influential people from around the world from 1897 onwards, written by the people featured in the directory. Read About Who's Who – Oxford University Press.
Business directory for more than 200,000 UK companies, their products and services, financial profile and executives. Search by location, turnover, number of employees, trade association or contact details.
All the words you could possible want in one place, with changes in meaning and the development of English over the centuries and quotes from literature, magazines, films and pop songs. Includes crossword solver.
Quick-search access to definitions of words and phrases with expert guidance on style, usage, grammar, and spelling.
Worldwide music, with more than 45,000 articles on people and places, instruments and techniques, from classical to hip-hop. Includes 'Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians', Oxford reference books and music recordings.
Search a wide range of Oxford reference books for in-depth information on every subject from art to zoology. Also includes English dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries of French, German, Spanish and Italian, timelines, images, maps and flags. See the full list of titles – Oxford Reference Online.
Which? Online offers independent advice to help you buy products and services from TVs to cars, from broadband to credit cards. Includes your consumer rights, product finder comparison tool, forums and Which? magazine reports. You'll need to ask library staff to sign you into this service.
More than 45,000 articles on visual arts worldwide, from prehistory to the present day, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewellery and interior design. Includes 'Grove dictionary of art' and 'Benezit dictionary of artists'.
Discover the history of Britain in the 1800s with full access to more than 26,000 pamphlets held in seven university libraries. These documents were an important means of public debate, covering the key political, social, technological, and environmental issues of their day.
Full-colour images of more than 65,000 rare and unusual printed documents from British everyday life from the 18th to 20th centuries. Includes theatrical posters, playbills, tickets and programmes, prints of landscapes and architecture and pamphlets relating to crime, murders, executions and transportation.
Discover Ireland's cultural and political life from the 18th century to the present day through journals, manuscripts and more at libraries and universities in Ireland. This service is called the 'Digital library of core e-resources on Ireland'.
Search millions of historical articles from British national and local newspapers by keyword, name, location, date or title.
Other reference websites
Addresses and telephone directories
Dictionaries and thesaurus
General reference information
- Reference.com – first stop for reference information, including education, science, books and games, with up-to-date articles around the world.
- Bartleby – reference books, poetry, and full-text fiction and non-fiction.
- Internet Public Library (IPL2) – dictionaries, calenders, and encyclopedia
- Ref Desk – links to reference sources including dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps and atlases, quotations, population figures, science facts, time and dates, weights and measures and world religions.
- World Wide Web Virtual Library – encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, statistics, almanacs and yearbooks and directories.
Our dedicated enquiry service for help with quick questions and general knowledge, as well as in-depth local and family history enquiries.