Visit to the Burnell Library at The National Autistic Society


The Burnell Library is located on the fourth floor of the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) headquarters near Angel Underground in Central London. CILIPinKent were delighted to offer Information Professionals from across the region an opportunity to attend a guided tour just ahead of World Autism Awareness week 2017.


The collections comprise of approximately 1,000 books, over 100 DVDs, 24 journal subscriptions and NAS publications, including ephemera. The LMS in use is Soutron and the catalogue is available online. Catalogue records for journal articles include the abstract.

The library has the following open access resources:

Library staff also update an Autism Services Directory for the UK. This is a directory of over 7,000 services and support for people on the autism spectrum, their families, and people who work with them.

The Library have recently reclassified the collections and have published a report on the project in ALISS Quarterly.

Future projects include, reviewing the weeding criteria, providing eBooks for remote users and improving promotions to staff.


Study Space

Study space is available in the Library where the light can be dimmed to ease visual stress. The Library is open Monday – Friday from 10.00 to 16.00 for reference use and booking in advance is essential (email  Current users in the main comprise of researchers, parents, students and social carers. Lending is only possible for NAS staff and volunteers. Access is free and self-service photocopying costs 10p per A4 or 15p per A3.


Aim of the Library: Help people to find information about Autism.

The Library support NAS staff and volunteers by offering an enquiry service, proofreading service and making sure that the information provided is based on the latest knowledge and evidence. NAS employ over 3,000 staff that work across 300 locations nationally.

The team assist individuals external to the organisation too, answering enquiries, finding abstracts or book chapters and journal articles on topics relating to autism such as diagnosis, education and interventions. Remote enquirers can contact the team at

Autism Helpline

Whereas the Library process more research-based enquiries, general enquires are received by the Autism helpline on 0808 800 4104. The small team of Advisers answer more than 40,000 calls per year, with a majority of enquiries coming from parents, carers and relatives. At least 65% of callers are referred to the Directory. Niche enquiries often require assistance or information retrieval from the Library.


World Autism Awareness Week is an annual fundraising campaign and further information can be found on the NAS website:

The National Autistic Society website is

Take a look at Network Autism where you can access Special Interest Updates at

CILIPinKent would like to thank Alex, Anna, Cheryl and Philippa for their informative and inspiring introduction to the NAS Library.

Visit summary by Rebecca Daniels


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