Library information for Fellows, Patrons and Members

Welcome to ZSL Prince Philip Zoological Library & Archives

Latest: Christmas News: Wednesday 15 December is the last day we will be open in 2021. We will reopen on Tuesday 4 January when we will welcome back visitors.

Seasons' Greetings

ZSL Library & Archives is open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

ZSL Library and Archives are pleased to be welcoming visitors again.We are gradually reopening and welcoming a limited number of visitors by appointment only. We are open 10.30am to 5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. 

Please email 24 hours in advance to make an appointment to visit so we can reserve a desk for you. If you plan to consult any of our 'special collections' i.e. Archives, historic books or art works, then please email a week before.We can then arrange to retrieve material ready for your visit.

Once you arrive please press the buzzer or telephone 0207 449 6293 so one of the Library Team can let you into the building.

Although some restrictions have been lifted our priority is to keep you and our staff safe so we would appreciate you complying with some safety measures.

  • Please use a face mask when entering the building and while moving around the building, unless you are exempt.

  • Please also wash your hands on arrival. We are asking our visitors to wash hands regularly rather than use handgel which may cause damage to our collections.

  • You may remove you face mask when sitting at a Library desk but please wear it again when moving around the Library.

  • Please also keep a distance from other Library visitors and Library staff.


New video Welcome to ZSL's Library & Archives

Enjoy our new video then follow-up by booking one of Library Tours - see details to the right of the page. 


Dear Secretary... New Blog by New ZSL Archivist!

Natasha Wakely our new Archivist has blogged about the fascinating range of letters sent to ZSL's former Secretary Philip Lutley Sclater. He was Secretary for 42 years from 1860 to 1902.

One of Natasha's main tasks is to produce a new online catalogue of the collections held in the ZSL Archive. This is the first in a series of blogs on the collections as she continues with cataloguing ZSL's Archives.


Where is 'Obaysch'?

Obaysch the first hippopotamus, a sculpture made from Nile mud, Joseph Gawen, circa 1855
Obaysch sculpture made from Nile mud, Joseph Gawen, circa 1855


Already a number of Fellows have noticed that Obaysch is missing from ZSL Library & Archives. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts have borrowed him for an exhibition so you can see him there along with the Frederick York album of photographs from around 1875 and a drawing of Obaysch by Joseph Wolf. He is on display as part of the exhibition Miss Clara and the Celebrity Beast in Art, 1500 – 1860

Meanwhile in ZSL Library & Archives we have a small display of items about Obaysch and have updated a blog about him


Online Library Catalogue 

This is available 24/7 and contains links to relevant online resources as well as listing our holdings: ZSL Library Catalogue


‘Click and collect’ book loans

Please check our online catalogue for books you wish to borrow  ZSL Library Catalogue and email details to Collection details will be provided when we email confirming the items are available for loan.


Renewals/Extending Loans

If you have borrowed books from us already, we will automatically renew the loan period.


Returning Loans

If you wish to return any borrowed items and do not wish to make an appointment to visit ZSL Library & Archives, please put them in an envelope or bag and hand in at the East Service Gate which is located opposite the ZSL Main Offices, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY.

Please mark the envelope/bag for the attention of ZSL Library and write the date you have returned the item on the package so that we can quarantine returns for 72 hours.

Returned items can be left at the East Service Gate 10am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday only.


Scan and Send

Scans for non-commercial use can be made from printed items held in ZSL Library, including book chapters and journal articles, in compliance with copyright regulations. There is a charge of 30p per page. Please ensure that we have the item you want by checking our online ZSL Library Catalogue then email with details of the item you wish us to scan.


Postal Loans

If you are unable to use our ‘click and collect’ service or are unable to make an appointment to visit, books can be posted to you via ‘Special Delivery’, costs vary depending on the size of book, from £8 to £25. Please check our online catalogue for the book you wish to borrow then email with the details.


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General Library information

We have thousands of books available for borrowing, and a host of online resources.  Search our Library catalogue online to check our holdings and explore the collection.

Remember : Fellows can borrow 6 books at any one time; Student Fellows may borrow 2 books at any one time. 

Find out more information about the Library.

Lead image of the library


ZSL Library & Archives are in the Zoological Society of London's main office building, on the Outer Circle of Regent's Park, approximately 200 yards East of ZSL London Zoo's main gate and adjacent to the ZSL Meeting Rooms.

Search our Library catalogue online to find out about our books, journal holdings, art works and archives


External view of ZSL Offices and Library
External view of ZSL Library & Archives and Offices

More films featuring our Special Collections

On YouTube Objectivity Videos - The reptile expertDarwin at the Zoo and Random Zoo photos

ZSL Facebook video for World Book Day with Emma talking about three of her favourite books - by Konrad Gessner, Evelyn Cheeseman and Charles Darwin.



Library Tours for Fellows and Patrons

We are pleased to announce we are holding tours for Fellows and Patrons.  

An opportunity to see items from our special collections and learn a little about the history of ZSL.

The tours will be on Monday 29 November and  6th December. 

Tours will be during the afternoon on both days.

Please email if you would like to book a tour. In your email, please let us know your preferred day.

Two Library visitors viewing manuscripts and drawings depicting birds
Library Visitors viewing Hodgson's manuscripts