Viewing of the State Library's Rare Book or Archival Collections can be undertaken in the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room located in the J.S Battye Library on the 3rd floor of the State Library building.

A current membership is required to access the facilities of the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room. Membership cards must be shown to staff on entry and remain visible to security staff. Library membership is valid for two years and must be produced each time items are requested for viewing.  As part of the registration process, researchers must also sign an agreement to abide by the "Conditions for the Use of Archival Records" when accessing items in the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room.

Archival Material

The following conditions apply to all clients who wish to access archival records:

  • A library membership card must be issued to a researcher before access to archival material will be granted.
  • Researchers agree to comply with any privacy conditions that may apply when they access the records.
  • When researchers have finished with the records, they should be handed to a staff member. Records may only be read in the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room.
  • If access to any records is restricted, staff will advise researchers of the appropriate access application procedure.
  • The ticket will be issued to researchers on their first visit to the Leah Jane Cohen Reading Room. Current personal identification is required. Membership is not transferable, and must be shown to staff each time records are received.
  • Students up to and including Year 12 are not permitted to use original archival material unless accompanied by an adult.
  • When requesting private archival material, researchers should consult enquiry desk staff. Up to five items will be retrieved at any one time, or more at the discretion of the staff.
  • Records are retrieved from the stack area every half hour, Monday to Thursday 9.30am-7.00pm, Friday 9.30am-4.00pm and weekends 10.30am-4.00pm.

Researchers are asked to respect the physical integrity of the records while handling them:

  • Records are not to be marked or damaged.
  • Loose papers in files should be left in their original order.
  • Pencils only are to be used for note taking.
  • Use of post-it notes is not allowed.

 Some material may be photocopied subject to consultation with Library staff. The following material will not be photocopied:

  • Records that predate 1900.
  • Bound volumes.
  • Original items where a microfilm or other copy exists

When State Library rare book materials are no longer required, they should be handed to the staff member on duty. Rare book materials cannot be removed from the Reading Room.

Subject Specialists

When undertaking in-depth research in any topic relating to Western Australia or Family History, and further guidance is required, contact a State Library subject specialist for advice on the collections and how best to utilise them, or to arrange an appointment.

For Western Australian information call Monday to Friday on 08 9427 3476 or email

Family History information call Tuesday to Thursday on 08 9427 3247 or email

Last updated on: 3 July 2019