Virtual reference library
Accessing the resources
You can access a range of free online reference resources using your library membership. You will need a Gloucestershire library card with a number that starts with 77 e.g. 771234123x or 7712341234. If your card has a different pattern of numbering please contact us using this link: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries/contact-the-library/
You will need your library number and PIN number to access most of these services. If you have forgotten your PIN and have an email address registered on your account you can re-set your PIN online.
If you do not have an email address registered on your account or have any queries please Contact the Library.
Some resources can be accessed from anywhere using library membership, while others can only be accessed from a library computer. Please see details below.
Temporary access from home
The following resources are currently available from home for Gloucestershire Libraries customers:
Find My Past - family history database that includes birth, marriage and death records, census data (dating back to 1841), electoral registers and land tax documents. In addition to this you can also currently access from home the World Edition of this site where you can explore Find My Past’s entire collection of over 13 million records from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. It also contains the largest collection of Irish records anywhere online. To access the site from home you will need to use our temporary login details. Please contact us for these details and with any feedback you have about the World Edition by clicking here: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/libraries/contact-the-library/
Ancestry - family history database that includes census, military and immigration records. Temporary access from home is currently available to Gloucestershire parish and electoral registers, wills and other probate records, gaol registers and some transportation records. To create a free account go to ‘Sign In’ from the home page in the top right hand corner (not subscribe). Underneath the green ‘Sign In’ button, click on ‘sign up today for free’. Create an account by entering your details. Accept the terms and conditions and click on the green ‘Continue’ button.
If you are using a library computer, please click here to access the Ancestry.
Other resources available anywhere via library membership:
Gale Databases – access to Gale Primary Sources, NewsVault, the Times Digital Archive and British Library Newspapers. Access to national and regional newspapers spanning the centuries. Login to these sites using your library card number.
Newsbank - access to news articles from across the world. Newsbank is a comprehensive collection of reliable news sources covering a wide array of topics and issues. It also provides full text and image editions of local, regional, national and international newspapers, magazines, blogs and journals. Login using your library card number.
GoCitizen - the online study resource for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK or British Citizenship test. It provides the online version of the latest official study materials licensed from the Home Office. The first time you use the site you will need to register using your name, email address and a password. If you sign up from home you will also need your library card number.
Theory Test Pro - a highly realistic online simulation of the UK’s driving theory tests for all vehicles. It contains all the official test questions licensed from the DVSA, plus an online version of the Highway Code and realistic hazard perception video simulations. The first time you use the site you will need to register using your name, email address and a password. If you sign up from home you will also need your library card number.
Naxos Music Library – a specialist music resource giving access to over two million tracks and a database of music reference information. Searchable opera, chamber music, concertos, ballet, world, jazz and pop and rock music. There is also a music dictionary and various articles on music. Login using your library card number.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - a searchable database of over 60,000 biographies, 72 million words and 11,000 portraits those who shaped British history from the Romans to the 21st century. Login using your library card number.
Oxford Reference - access to 25 different subjects, including archaeology, history, literature, music, science and technology, law, religion and medicine and health. It contains over two million entries from Oxford University’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopaedias. Login using your library card number.
BFI Screen Online - the definitive online guide to Britain’s film and television history. Browse different genres of film and television history or search for a particular film, actor or programme. Also includes timelines of British film and television history, UK film statistics and the encyclopaedia of British film. No login required for this site.
John Johnson Collection - an archive of printed ephemera from the Bodleian Library in Oxford offering unique insights into the changing nature of life in Britain in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. To login go to login option ‘Public Library Users’ and enter your library card number and click ‘Login’.
Resources that can be accessed from any Gloucestershire library via library membership:
Access to Research - provides free access to over 30 million academic articles from leading publishers. Subjects include art, architecture, business, engineering, history, languages, politics and the sciences.
British Newspaper Archive - contains around 3 million pages of newspaper content from 742 local, regional and national newspapers dating from the 1700s.
Resources that can only be accessed from Cheltenham and Gloucester Libraries:
Which? Online - is the online version of the famous Which? magazine. It has a search facility or browse a range of categories from mobile phones to pushchairs.
Resources that can only be accessed from Gloucester Library:
FAME - a business database and provides comprehensive information on both public and private companies across the UK and Ireland. For more information about FAME go to:
If you cannot get to Cheltenham or Gloucester Libraries to access these resources, please contact our Ask Us Reference and Enquiry Service. Our Ask Us team will be happy to help with your enquiry.
Test your skills
Try out the the Virtual Reference Library Quiz:
You can check your answers here:
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