Online library resources and reference

If you need help with homework, tracing your family history, writing a business plan or preparing for your driving theory test, we subscribe to a wide range of resources to help you.

Some of these services will require you to log in with your library membership number to access the member's area. Join the library for free to get your library membership number. 

Join the library

Academic articles

You can get free access to over 10 million academic articles at your local library using your library membership.

To access:

  1. Go to your local library. Find your local library
  2. Search for academic articles on one of the library's computers
  3. If you find ones you'd like to read, tell one of the library staff or contact us using the details on this page. Tell us the name of the articles you'd like and we'll print them for you.
  4. If you can't get to a library, please email and tell them which articles you'd like and why you can't get to the library. They'll advise you on other ways to access the article instead.

British Standards Online

If you're looking for British, European or International standards you can use British Standards Online (BSOL). 

It's the authoritative and most current site for all BSOL publications. The site includes thousands of current, draft and historic British Standards.

We do not offer access to British Standards. However, you can access British Standards Online from any library across the country if it's available. 

  • If you're looking to access the service in Greater Manchester, you can register your library card from the borough of Rochdale at that library. Greater Manchester libraries
  • If you're looking to access the service outside of Greater Manchester, you may be required to join their library first. Joining a library is free. All UK libraries

Driving theory test

You can access Theory Test Pro with your library membership. 

Theory Test Pro is a highly realistic online simulation of the UK's driving theory test.

It contains all the official test questions licensed from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the people who set the tests.

Theory Test Pro

Family history

You can trace your family history and access records using the following services. These services are available for free only when you use our library computers. You cannot access them for free at home.

  • AncestryLibrary - build your family tree and record the information you find. You can also access records and historical documents on the website, including military records, criminal records, immigration records and voter lists.
  • Find My Past - access to a range of family history records in partnership with Manchester City Archives.

You can also access census records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, electoral registers, and more online and at our local studies centres. More ways to trace your family history

IT training and help

There are a few different IT training courses available with your library membership.

  • First Steps on Your Computer - an interactive training program for anyone completely new to computers. It contains full human English speech that can be listened to as many times as you wish, and text can be selected in Urdu, Arabic, Bangladeshi, Polish or Somali. It takes absolutely nothing for granted, guiding you through the program with interactive exercises. At the end of each section, you can test what you've learned before progressing to the next level.
  • Learn My Way - free online IT courses for beginners on subjects such as using emails, finding a job online, using mobile and online banking, video calling, online shopping and much more. When you register for an account, it will ask you for the name of the centre you're learning in. You can enter your local library as your Learning Centre. 

National Archives

The National Archives is the UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history including over 27 million documents that are available on the UK Government Archive, such as:

  • Guides, catalogues and indexes - whether you are looking for a person, a place or a particular subject​.
  • Lesson plans and workshops for teachers and students.
  • Online exhibitions on historical themes.
  • A museum of national treasures.
  • Podcasts about news and popular topics.
  • Advice on how to use the National Archives in Kew.

Access the UK Government Archive

Literature - Oxford Bibliographies Online

You can access 2 subjects on the Oxford Bibliographies Online: