Kent History and Library Centre
The new centre is purpose built to protect
and give people access to more of our archive
material, and to provide a 21st century library in the heart of
Kent. It houses around 14 kilometres of historic material relating
to Kent dating back to 699 AD and is the place to come for
anyone interested in local history.
Interested in Kent history?
The Kent History and Library Centre is specially designed to
promote research into family and local history, by individuals and
- one-stop shop for local history research: Kent’s wonderful
archives and local history under one roof
- state-of-the-art public search room for consulting original
documents, older books and local studies material
- superb photocopying and photography facilities
- free access to history
websites – including Ancestry and Find my
- meeting room bookable for holding group meetings
- dedicated Community History Room – perfect for holding history
- advice from experts in reading old handwriting (palaeography),
Latin, locating sources, research topics, conserving books and
- courses on reading old handwriting and Latin – ask for
- exciting programmes of exhibitions and talks.
If you wish to access archives and are new to the
centre please read
our guide (PDF, 377k).
Planning your visit
We advise you to book in advance if you wish to consult original
records. When you arrive at the Centre, please go to the Community
History Desk, on the left side of the building, to register as an
You will need a valid Kent library card to log on to the public
computers, and your card must be archive enabled if you wish to
look at original archive material inside the archive search room.
To allow us to archive enable your card, please bring with you 2
forms of ID which together show your name, home address and
signature. You can also use a County Archives Research Network
(CARN) ticket, provided it is still current. Once you have booked
into the search room, you will be given your desk number and locker
key. There are certain restrictions on what you can take into the
archive searchroom. For example, you may only take in pencils to
write with, not pens.
Some records have been digitised or microfilmed and can be
consulted in the Community History Area. Usage of material in this
area is not subject to the same restrictions as the archive search
room so if you only wish to work in the Community History Area,
your library ticket does not need to be archive enabled.
Looking for a history group to join/contact another community history or heritage group? We can put
you in touch with your nearest one.
The library offers 40,000 books and is host to a
regular programme of activities such as regular storytime and baby bounce
and rhyme sessions. The centre also hosts author events,
reading groups and other community activities. There are public computers with free access to office
software and the Internet and we offer support for those
needing help to get online.
Check What's on in Kent
Local for details of events. You can find
out more about library services from the libraries pages.
Note: The Centre (KHLC) replaces the Centre for Kentish
Studies, East Kent Archives Centre, County Central and Maidstone
(St Faiths Street) libraries. The Music and Drama
collection that was originally at CCL has been moved
Gibson Drive at Kings Hill.