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News & Updates


The migration to our new library management system is complete and all computer systems are working as normal. Our new Online Public Catalogue is back up and running. You can access the new catalogue here.
See what’s new in stock, browse our catalogue, check and renew your loans, place reservations, create reading lists, get personalised recommendations and see your loan history by signing in to your online account using your library card and PIN.
Our Public Access PCs are available again and reservations should be back to normal. There could be a few teething problems with the new system so if you notice anything wrong or need any other assistance then please get in touch on or phone 01856 873166.



We’ve published our Annual Impact Report 2023 which highlights all the things we’ve been working on at Orkney Library & Archive over the last year. Click here to open

Odilo logo

ODILO - Ukraine Unlimited Learning App - Click here

The ODILO app has over 1700 FREE eBooks in Ukrainian suitable for all ages and reading abilities. You can download the ODILO Ukrainian Unlimited Learning app for FREE from your normal app store or if you don't have a smartphone or tablet you can access ODILO through a web browser on a PC or laptop. You don't need to be a library member to use the app and can register for free using your email address. Find out more and access the service by following the link above.

Be Distance Aware Logo


At Orkney Library & Archive we're proud to be supporting the Distance Aware scheme, encouraging people to give more space when they see this symbol. If you see someone wearing a badge or a lanyard with this symbol, please give them some space so that we can all feel comfortable as we adapt to living with COVID-19.
If you (or someone you know) needs some extra space you can pick up a FREE Distance Aware badge or lanyard in Kirkwall, Stromness or at the Mobile Library.

Books and archives since 1683

Orkney Library & Archive

Orkney Library & Archive is on Junction Road right in the heart of Kirkwall and Stromness Library is situated in the Warehouse Buildings at the historic pierhead in Stromness.



Online Resources




The Library service provides access to over 145,000 items

We have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles available for loan as well as audiobooks, maps, eBooks, music CDs and DVDs and we also have a well stocked junior and teenage library.

Online Catalogue

You can browse our full catalogue online. If there is an item you require that we do not have in our collection, it may be possible to acquire from another library on your behalf as an Inter-Library Loan. Find out more about this service by clicking here.

Reference Room

Upstairs we have a Reference Room which has an extensive collection of resources including reference books, maps and local government information. There are also study carrels with power sockets and desk lamps which are ideal for quiet study.

Our Foyer

In the foyer there is comfortable seating, access to hot drinks, and a selection of magazines, leaflets and other useful information. There is also a selection of withdrawn books for sale.

Free Wi-Fi

We have FREE Wi-Fi within the building and a number of public access computers with internet access which are FREE for Library members but are also available to visitors for a small charge.

Based on 36 reviews
Great Library Good selection of books, with a great separate kids room with books and puzzles. Lots of comfortable seats throughout and a good place to visit on a rainy day.
Find your family history here. Researching family history in Orkney? This is a must visit place, helpful people and a very organised research collection.
The place to go if you are tracing Orkney ancestors The 'Archive Centre' on the upper floor has wonderful helpful staff and huge archives in original form, microfiche and computerised to help you trace your past. Best to book a place.
Mike BR
Mike BR
Great warm vibrant place Great warm vibrant place, when outside is cold and maybe wet what more can you want but a large open warm and buzzing cafe. Extremely friendly staff, great food - soup was lovely - great vibe and really a highlight of a day. Shuts at 5 in winter. Good beers too
Architecture and food
Architecture and food
Excellent facilities & friendly staff This library has excellent facilities. A vast catalogue of books - including written, ebooks, large print. Their display is neat & easy to follow & they have a vast number of books in store to access too. The staff are friendly & helpful. There is seating, toilet facilties, coffee & drinks available. DVDs & CDs are also available . The archive unit upside is wonderful to browse & has an intensive collection of material & information about Orkney
Karen M
Karen M
Beautiful library. Just off the centre of Kirkwall, the Library is huge and modern. They also have an Archive upstairs, where you can find family connections, or get photocopies of interesting documents etc. If you have an interest in Orkney , or family history, this is the place to go.
Great library This is a beautifully laid out library with a large range of books to suit every taste. The upstairs Archive also provides great information. All staff I encountered were friendly and helpful. This is a great asset to both locals and holidaymakers alike.
First class Library Visit the library every year when we visit Orkney the services they provide to holiday makers is first class, an added bonus this year was the fact our 2 children could play on Minecraft on I believe a PS4 system on a tv screen together. Thank you Orkney Library.
Kevin Young
Kevin Young
Based on 52 reviews
Kirkwall library is well organised. The staff are efficient and friendly.
Teresa Furniss
Teresa Furniss
Very well run & friendly customer service.
Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson
Last summer I was offered a job interview that couldn't be reschedueled and clashed with my holiday in Kirkwall. I was able to do the interview remotely but was staying in a hostel. I got in touch with Orkney libraries and the staff could not have been more helpful and made sure I had a quiet, private space in the library to do my interview. They went beyond what I expected when I got in touch about possibly booking a room, the importance of library services cannot be overstated!
Laura Tulloch
Laura Tulloch