Adult online reference shelf

Libraries reopening news and updates

From Monday 17 May, in line with latest Government guidance, libraries across Surrey County Council will be reopening more services. Events such as rhymetimes and storytimes are currently paused. Full details on our Coronavirus information page.

We've subscribed to a range of quality information sources so you can have a reference library at home or at the library.

When signing in to resources marked with an asterisk, prefix your borrower number with SURREY

If you have trouble logging into our online products, please contact us.


    • COBRA: The Complete Business Reference Advisor has a wealth of information for businesses, potential start ups, jobseekers and students. Whilst libraries are closed COBRA have allowed us to offer temporary remote access to this service. Access is available to Surrey Library members with their borrower ticket number.
      * Prefix your borrower number with SURREY. There is no space, and SURREY needs to be uppercase.
    • The Gazette company profiles
      Free, easy to search official information about every UK company registered with Companies House.

      Living and learning

      • GoCitizen
        Preparing for your Citizenship test, Surrey Libraries can help with free access to GoCitizen, the citizenship test study programme.
      • The Gazette
        The Gazette contains the official records of: wills and probate, insolvency, awards and accreditation and company profiles. It also includes guides, industry news and other useful resources.
      • The Great Courses Library Collection
        The Great Courses Library Collection offers access to 150 of the most popular courses taught by the world's top professors.
      • Theory Test Pro
        A highly realistic online simulation of the UK's driving theory test. It contains the entire official test questions licensed from the DSA.
      • Which? magazine
        Surrey libraries have a login for Which? that can be used on computers. Staff will log you in. You can pre-book a computer online if you wish.
      • Discovering Children's Books
        Explore centuries of stories, poems and illustrations with this free online resource for children, teachers and book-lovers of all ages.


      • Naxos Music Library
        Online streaming music resource containing over 35,000 CDs. Where it asks you for a "Passcode" please enter your library card number. We have a limited number of concurrent users so if you are unable to login, please try again later.

      Newspapers, magazines and journals

      • Access to Research (only available in Surrey libraries) Over 6,000 publicly funded scientific research journals available for anyone to read in the library.
      • British Newspaper Archive (only available in Surrey libraries)
        Explore over 200 years of history, millions of stories: from your street to the world. To view images in the library you will need to register for your own free account.
      • Magazine Collection
        View digital copies of your favourite magazines.
      • PressReader
        Today's papers including the Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express. Also regional papers and newspapers from around the world.
      • Times Digital Archive
        Please note: Some library members may currently be experiencing problems trying to sign in to the Times Digital Archive. We are investigating this problem and hope to find a resolution soon. We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.
        Contains every issue of The Times between 1785 and 2010. View a short guided tour of Times Digital Archive (this may take a few minutes to load).
      • Which? magazine (only available in Surrey libraries)
        Surrey libraries have a login for Which? that can be used on computers. Staff will log you in. You can pre-book a computer online if you wish.

      People and history

      • Ancestry (only available in Surrey libraries)
        Search your family history using Ancestry's selection of UK censuses, parish records and many other national and international databases.
      • Ancestry (for records held at Surrey History Centre only)
        Whilst full access to Ancestry is only available in libraries for contractual reasons, you can access records held by the Surrey History Centre from home for free. Follow the link, click on "Sign in" in the top right of the screen. If you have an Ancestry account you can login. If not, click on "Sign up for free" and register your details. Please note: we are currently aware of some technical issues with this service. It is asking you to pay to download. This is a fault which we have reported to our service provider and hope they will resolve soon.
      • Find My Past
        A family history and genealogy website with an ever-growing collection of over 560 million family history records. Find My Past have kindly offered library members access to the service from home during this difficult time. Please email with your name and library card number for details of how to access, using "Find My Past access" as the email subject name.


      • John Johnson Collection (only available in Surrey libraries)
        The John Johnson Collection of printed ephemera from the Bodleian Library offers unique insights into the changing nature of everyday life in Britain.
      • Oxford English Dictionary
        * Prefix your borrower number with SURREY. Widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language, the OED is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words.