Reference and Business

All Milton Keynes Libraries have a collection of reference books and resources with the largest selection being held at Central Library.

If you love your library and would like to show support, please consider a donation.


Reference and Business Services are mainly located at Central Library and staff will be happy to help you with your enquiries. 

You can also contact the Reference Library using the Online Enquiry Form.


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British Standards (BSI)

Milton Keynes Libraries do not hold British Standards but many public and university libraries hold complete sets of British Standards.

For a full list please see the British Standards Institution (BSI) website. You can contact BSI by email or telephone 020 8996 7555.

Business Management Information

The Business Library holds a useful collection of resources including:

  • Books on a wide range of business management topics
  • Business magazines and newspapers

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Useful Business Websites:

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Careers and Job Search Information

Job Search

Milton Keynes Libraries can offer a range of resources to help job hunters.

If you are seeking employment, you can benefit from a number of library services including:

  • Free internet (up to 30 minutes computer use each day for library members).
  • Use of the library IT facilities to type CVs and application letters or to apply for jobs online.
  • Free WiFi at all Milton Keynes Libraries.
  • Books providing help with writing CVs and preparing for interviews.
  • Local and national newspapers and trade and industry magazines for job adverts - contact the Reference Library for further details.
  • Reference information for business start-ups and business advice (COBRA).

Careers Advice

  • Careers directory providing information on different careers including the training and qualifications required. We also have books giving more in-depth information on specific careers.
  • You can search the Library Catalogue for careers books.
  • Books on changing careers and returning to work.
  • Careers newspapers and magazines.

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Qualification Comparison Website (UK Naric)

The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom is the National Agency providing the only official source of comparison information and advice on international education and training systems and overseas skills and qualifications.

Useful Job Search Websites:

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Careers, Apprenticeships and Training:

Graduate Information Sites:

Overseas Jobs:

  • Overseas jobs and international employment opportunities for professionals, expatriates and adventure seekers.

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COBRA - Online Small Business Information Database

COBRA is a continually expanding business encyclopaedia covering all aspects of starting and running a business.

COBRA gives you quick and easy access to exactly the information you need if you are running your own business, considering self-employment or looking for a career change.

COBRA contains thousands of factsheets that are packed with useful information about setting up, running and growing a business. With detailed guides on about 600 small business trades and professions plus practical how to guides, market summaries and information about trade events, business support and funding.

It is free to use although printing charges will apply. This service is only available at Milton Keynes Central Library. Ask a member of staff in the Reference Library to log you on.

If you don't have time to come to the Reference and Business Library in person, requests for searches can be made by telephone (01908 254050) or email.

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Company Information

  • ​Milton Keynes Company Directories.
  • Annual Reports - Most companies now have a copy of their Annual Report on their website. A company's website can usually be easily found by searching for the company name on a search engine such as Google. The Annual Reports Service will help you to quickly locate an Annual Report.

Useful Company Information Websites:

  • The Gazette - official public record of UK limited companies.
  • MisterWhat - comprehensive business directory of UK companies. Search by keyword or location.
  • Reed Business Information - including UK and overseas companies. 
  • Kompass Directory - including UK and overseas companies. Search by company name or industry.
  • Applegate Directory - including UK and Ireland. Search by company name, product or industry.
  • Hoovers UK - worldwide company information.
  • Business File - Local Business Directory - covering Aylesbury, Bedford, Buckingham, Corby, Dunstable, Kettering, Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Rushden and Wellingborough. This shows industrial estates and companies' locations.

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Doing Business Abroad

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Education Information

Education - Primary and Secondary


  • Guides to educational grants and scholarships.

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University Information

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate prospectuses for most UK universities.
  • UCAS list of university and college websites.
  • UCAS directory and information on how to fill in your UCAS form.
  • Guides to UK universities.
  • University ranking lists from newspapers such as the Times rankings and the Guardian rankings.
  • Online information and advice to help students to find the right degree course and the right university with Which? University.

Work Experience

  • Books on gap years and summer jobs, including working overseas and voluntary work.
  • Information on training in the workplace including details of local schemes.

Qualification Comparison Website (UK Naric)

The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom

UK Naric is the National Agency providing the only official source of comparison information and advice on international education and training systems and overseas skills and qualifications.

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Electoral Registers

Voters Lists

Registers of Parliamentary electors were introduced by the 1832 Reform Act. A voter’s name must be on them in order to cast a vote.

They have been compiled annually since 1832, except for 1916–17 and 1940–44 inclusive during the World Wars and 1919–1926 and 1945–1949 when the registers were compiled twice a year.

All registers list the name (usually surname, first name and initials) of the voter and an address.

Until 1918, the registers included the qualification that entitled the person to vote, details of their current residence and the address of property owned in the constituency or polling district.

Following the 1918 Representation of the People Act it stated that, wherever possible, the register should be published in street order with no surname index.

From 1928–1970 the abbreviation 'Y' was used to denote someone who would reach the age of 21 during the first half of the year in which the register was in force. After 1970, the date of birth is given for anyone approaching the age of 18.

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Viewing the current edition of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register:

You can consult the current open version of the Milton Keynes electoral register at Central Library.

The open version does not contain all the electors in Milton Keynes as any elector can request that their personal details be kept private and consequently will not be listed in this open version.

If you wish to consult the full version of the current electoral register please contact Milton Keynes Council Electoral Services.

Viewing the current edition of the Electoral Register for other areas of the UK:

If you want to look at the current electoral register for other areas of the UK, the following websites allow you to search the open electoral register for the whole of the UK (there may be a charge to look at the information):

If you wish to look at the full electoral register for any area of the UK, you will need to contact the electoral services department of that local council for details of access arrangements.

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Viewing previous editions of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register:

The Family History Library keeps an archive of electoral registers for Milton Keynes:

  • full registers from 1984 to 2005
  • open electoral registers from 2006 - 2012

Electoral registers for the area dating from before 1984 are held at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies in Aylesbury.

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European Information

  • Europa - official website of the European Union and gateway to EU information available on the internet.
  • The European Business Register
  • European Commission in the UK - UK-oriented information about the European Union.
  • Eur-Lex - EU legislation, case law, treaties and the Official Journal.
  • Eurostat - European statistical publications.
  • European Parliament - official website of the European Parliament. Information about the workings of the Parliament and contact details for MEPs.
  • The EIC Network - the Euro Info Centres Network provides up-to-date information on European directives and regulations, public sector contract opportunities, funding, research and much more.

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Government Information



  • Council Public Consultation documents are kept at the enquiry desk during the consultation period. These include proposed building developments and changes to car parking restrictions.
  • Milton Keynes Local Plan - a copy of the most recent plan can be consulted at the enquiry desk or viewed online.
  • Previous Local Plans are kept in the Local Studies Library.
  • Council Committee Agendas and Minutes are kept in the Local Studies Library at the Central Library. Please ring to check availability before making a special journey to view these documents. 
  • Council documents - an archive of old council documents, including strategies and reports, is kept in the Local Studies Library.

Planning Applications

  • A weekly listing of recently submitted planning applications can be viewed online.
  • All planning applications submitted to Milton Keynes Council's Development Control Department after 11 November 2009 are available to view online via the Public Access System. This will allow access to view the application documents, check an application's status, target dates and will facilitate making comments online; all within the same system. Decision notices will be published online once issued.
  • You can also inspect the full details of a specific planning application in person by contacting the Council's Planning Department.

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Useful Government Websites

  • GOV.UK - the gateway to UK government websites.
  • UK Parliament - includes directory of MPs, details of parliamentary committees, Hansard reports of debates and information about bills currently before Parliament.
  • UK Legislation - full text of UK Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments.

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Health Information

We have books providing information about a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. Please search the Health Section of the Library Catalogue for titles.

  • Access to Research - free online access to over 1.5 million academic articles.
  • COIN - find contact details for Milton Keynes health services and support groups through our community information directory.
  • NHS Choices - is the NHS information site.  Find out about illnesses, operations, tests and treatments and contact details for your local health services.
  • Patient Information - information about medicines, health and medical resources and articles written by health professionals as well as a symptom checker.
  • British Medical Journal - read medical articles online.
  • Lancet - read medical articles online.
  • BBC News - provides information about many health topics.
  • Fit for Travel - website provided by the NHS (Scotland), gives travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK.

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You can find help in your libraries about various aspects of mental health including:

Useful Websites:

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Maps and Atlases

The map collection held in the Local Studies Library consists mainly of Ordnance Survey maps dating from the 1880s onwards. They vary in scale from 1 inch to the mile to 1:1250 (around 50 inches to the mile) and cover the modern urban area of Milton Keynes.

A few historic hand drawn maps of the older parishes within the 'designated area' of Milton Keynes can be viewed on request. To check what maps we hold for particular areas, please see our indexes:

Colman Map Collection

A collection of historic county maps dating from the 16th century to the late 19th century. These maps can be viewed by special arrangement with the Local Studies Library.

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Photocopying Maps

Any photocopying of maps in the Local Studies Library must comply with the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. Please see our photocopying facilities page for details of what you are permitted to copy.

Ordnance Survey Location Plans for Planning Applications

Libraries are not able to supply copy plans for this purpose. Here are some ordnance survey guidance notes (PDF, 18KB) to help you source these plans.

Books about local maps available in the Local Studies Library

  • 'Maps of Bucks' by Gordon Wyatt
  • 'County Maps and Historic Buckinghamshire' by Valerie G Scott & Eve McLaughlin

Useful Map Websites

The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies is based in Aylesbury and holds a large and varied collection of maps for Buckinghamshire.

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Market Research

The Reference Library can help you find a variety of Market Research resources.

Online Databases

  • COBRA - offers guides to trends and opportunities in over 60 market sectors, local area profiles and business opportunity profiles.

Statistics Collection

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Trade Magazines

Most industries have a dedicated publication and trade magazines can provide a lot of information about specific markets. For more information on magazines ask library staff or view our listing of newspapers and magazines (PDF, 200KB). Back magazine copies are kept in the Reference Library, just ask staff for details.

Business Directories

Local Statistics

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Businesses Operating in the UK’s Towns and Cities

Basic Information on business (name or contact details):

Main Market Report Publishers

Market Research Society

If you want to use an external market research agency consult the Society’s Buyers Guide to find out about reputable agencies and consultants.

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Useful Research Websites:

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MK Business Information

Company Information

  • The Milton Keynes Business File provides contact details for most businesses in MK.
  • Companies are listed by industry and by title. It also includes maps of Milton Keynes' industrial estates. Print copies of the directory can be consulted in the Reference and Business Library.

Industry Information

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Business Newspapers and Magazines


Local Business Organisations

Milton Keynes has a variety of organisations which can provide you with business information or advice, including:

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Newspapers and Magazines


Milton Keynes Libraries holds a variety of newspapers and magazines as a source of business information. If our collection doesn't have the particular newspaper or magazine article you are looking for there are still ways we can help.

Online Newspaper and Magazine Databases:

  • Times Digital Archive 1785-2007 - Search the full text of the Times newspaper from the first issue in 1785 to 1985. You will need to enter the number on your library card to access the database.
  • PressReader - Digital access to newspapers and popular publications from the UK and all around the world. This service offers newspapers in 60 languages and is available within libraries and remotely from home with a library card number.
  • Access to Research - Within libraries you can access academic and scientific journals.

(For access and full details, please visit the eLibrary page.)

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Most of our local MK newspaper collection is on microfilm.

If you are making a special journey to use the newspapers on microfilm we recommend that you contact us in advance to book a microfilm reader by phoning the Local Studies Library on 01908 254051.

Our local newspapers are not indexed so, if you are looking for a particular event, it helps to have a good idea of the month and year before beginning your search.

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You can view a list of the newspapers and magazines (PDF, 200KB) held in Milton Keynes Libraries.

Local Newspaper Cuttings:

  • From 1981 onwards, all the local newspapers have been scanned to create a newspaper cuttings collection of items relating to North Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
  • The subject areas include people, architecture, politics, arts, local government, health, social issues and leisure.  You can search the Index of Local Studies Cuttings (PDF, 304KB).

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Family Tree Magazine

In the Local Studies Library we subscribe to Family Tree magazine and have an archive going back for some years.

The Family Tree magazine can be a useful resource, giving up to date information on new family history websites and offering advice and information on a variety of topics in the field of family history research.

Local Family History Magazines

We also subscribe to 2 local Family History magazines:

  • 'Bucks Ancestor' - Magazine of the Bucks Genealogical Society
  • 'Origins' - Magazine of the Bucks Family History Society


Here is a list of newspapers and magazines (PDF, 200KB) held in libraries in Milton Keynes.

You can also access newspapers from around the world online through PressDisplay.

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The Times Digital Archive contains the full text of the Times newspaper from the very first issue in 1785 up to 2011. As well as news articles, this includes advertisements, book reviews, obituaries, law reports and letters.

To access the archive, enter the letter B and the numbers on your library card when asked for your library barcode.

If you are not a member of the library you can still access Times Digital Archive on the computers at libraries in Milton Keynes - just ask library staff to log you on.

You can search by keyword for a particular article or browse through issues by date.

Please note that the Times Digital Archive is a popular and busy service. If you cannot gain access immediately, please try again later.

Issues of the Times up 2006 can be viewed on microfilm in the Reference Library at Milton Keynes Central Library.

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National Newspapers are available in the Reference Library and are indexed by Title (PDF, 200KB).

Other Sources

  • The British Library - has the national archive collections of British and overseas newspapers. It also includes popular magazines and periodicals, and is available in hard copy, in microform, and on CD-ROM at the Newspaper Reading Rooms in Colindale, north west London.
  • PressDisplay - Digital access to newspapers and popular publications from the UK and all around the world. This service offers newspapers in 60 languages and is available within libraries and remotely from home with a library card number.
  • Access to Research - Within libraries you can access academic and scientific journals.

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Small Business Startup

Setting up your own Business

If you are planning to start your own business or are already running a small business, the Business Library can help you.

  • Cobra is an online business tool covering all aspects of starting and running a business.

Local Business Organisations

  • Please note that Business Link no longer exists and is now part of GOV.UK

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Useful Startup Websites:

  • The government’s GOV.UK portal provides a rich source of information on the practicality of starting a new business and their HM Revenue & Customs pages cover tax and national insurance requirements.
  • Federation of Small Businesses - Advice, contacts and news for small businesses.
  • Shell LiveWIRE - Help for 16-30 year olds to start and develop their own business. Host for national competition for new start-ups.
  • Prince’s Trust - Help for 18-30 year olds, including grants, loans, business support and advice.
  • Small Business Portal - It provides links to Internet sites that will be helpful to small business researchers, policy-makers and support agencies.
  • Small Business Gateway - Advice on starting a new business, researching business ideas and plans, finances, sales and marketing. Case studies.
  • Eu Small Business Portal - For information about starting and running a SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprise) in the EU.
  • Visit the Council Business pages for any further support and advice.
  • GROW -  Offers monthly online marketing masterclass that teaches the 9 fundamental areas of online marketing you HAVE to know to be successful online.

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Milton Keynes Statistics

The Reference Library has a statistics collection covering a wide range of topics. Most of the statistics concentrate on the UK, but we also have some on the European Union and other countries.

  • Milton Keynes Council Statistics - Statistics for the area of Milton Keynes including data on population, 2001 census and unemployment.
  • MK Insight - A one-stop-shop for information about Milton Keynes and the surrounding area, including statistics.
  • The Local Studies and Archives Department has a collection of historical statistics for the Milton Keynes area, covering population, crime, employment and general facts and figures.

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UK National Statistics

  • Visit the official UK statistics website.  Many publications are available on the site free of charge.

EU and International Statistics

  • Official Statistics on the Web - This gateway is a quick way to locate statistics on the internet. You can search by country, region and topic.
  • Nationmaster - This is a massive central data source and a handy way to geographically compare nations.
  • Eurostat - Official European Union statistics website. It provides extensive information on EU statistics, industries and markets.
  • OECD - The OECD is a group of 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.
  • United Nations Statistics Division - A list of links to National Statistics offices for countries worldwide.

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Which? Extra Reports

Which? Extra Online is now available in all Milton Keynes Libraries and can be accessed from any PC within the libraries.  Access is with a username and password so you will need to visit one of our libraries and ask a member of staff to log you onto a computer.

Single copies of reports and factsheets may be printed or downloaded for personal, non-commercial use.

Paper copies of Which? magazines are only available at Bletchley and Milton Keynes Central Libraries.

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We are always open through the website where you can:

Library items can also be renewed by telephone using the 24 hour automated Telephone Renewal Service.  You must have your library card number and PIN to do this.

You can use the national Ask a Librarian 24/7 Enquire service if you have a specific question (this service is not available on Bank Holidays).

Enquire is not able to answer enquiries relating to Milton Keynes Libraries or your library account.  Please contact us directly and we will respond to your enquiry when the library is next open.

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Last Updated: 16 January 2020