Use our collections

Special Collections and Archives and the National Fairground and Circus Archive are open for the following bookable sessions:
Monday 10.00am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm
Tuesday 10.00am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm
Wednesday 10.00am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm
Thursday 10.00am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm


The National Fairground and Circus Archive in Western Bank Library will be used as the reading room for both services. If you wish to book a session, please contact us at

Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel your booking.

Guidance for researchers

  • Please book your visit at least three working days in advance. You will need to agree the list of material to be consulted with Special Collections or the National Fairground and Circus Archive. We will email you a consultation / booking form that needs to be completed ahead of your visit.
  • If possible, please bring your own fully charged laptop if required. The PCs in the reading room will only be available to consult digital / microfilm / microfiche material that is not available online. 
  • Please follow the University and Library guidance concerning social distancing and the use of a face covering.  
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water ahead of your visit. 
  • We are accepting individual bookings only during these hours (unless a carer is required). Please contact us to discuss group bookings. 
  • Please bring your U card or other evidence of identity.  
  • No pens allowed in the Reading Room; you may use pencils and laptops for taking notes.
  • Eating and drinking is not permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Bags cannot be taken into the Reading Room; lockers are provided.
  • Please show consideration towards other readers by keeping noise to a minimum.
  • You may be permitted to take photographs using your own camera. Please enquire to find out further information on copies ahead of your visit.

Use of materials

Please handle our rare and unique collections with care:

  • Do not lean on material, or rest your own notes on them.
  • Please use book rests to support volumes; book snakes are available to hold down pages.
  • Please keep all manuscripts and files in their original order.

Please ask a member of staff for assistance; we are happy to help.

Accessibility guide for visitors

Digitisation for small research projects


Our unique and distinctive collections have grown through many generous gifts from alumni, colleagues, academics, friends and members of the community. If you are considering offering us gifts of material or funding, please contact us to discuss this. You may also find it helpful to read our Collecting Policies, which are available on the About Us webpage. 


Contact us: