Special Collections - Visiting us

All material in Special Collections is for reference use only. Please contact us to make an appointment. Although we can bring you your material on demand it saves time if you reserve it in advance. Proof of identity is required in all cases, eg University ID or passport/driving licence.

Special Collections is situated on Level 4 in Western Bank Library. We are accessible by lift and level floors; if you are unable to use stairs, please let us know in advance.  Please see Access for visitors with mobility difficulties for more information.

Reading Room rules

Please follow the rules which will be explained to you when you visit:


  • 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.

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.
  • Strips of acid-free paper are available to use as bookmarks.
  • Please keep all manuscripts and files in their original order.

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

Watch our video about discovering rare books and archives in Special Collections.