Due to major building activity some of our collections are temporarily unavailable. This means that some requests for deliveries of Library material to the Reading Rooms will not be fulfilled. Please check the catalogue carefully to find out if your selection is impacted.  Learn more

Special Collections Reading Room

Visit our Special Collections Reading Room on Level 1 to view material from the Asian, pictures, manuscripts, maps, oral history, music, ephemera and rare printed collections.

Please note that there are no collection deliveries in evenings or on weekends and that delivery times vary throughout the week. Check delivery times before you visit.

In our Special Collections Reading Room you can also:

  • ask our friendly staff for advice on using special collections for your research
  • access free computers with internet and Microsoft Office suite for your special collections research and use
  • use audio equipment to listen to our Oral History and Folklore collections
  • browse our reference collection curated to support your use of our unique collections

Collection material is delivered to the Special Collections reading room three times per weekday, and access to this unique material often involves special handling or access conditions. To make the most of your research time, read our tips in the Using the Special Collections Reading Room guide and our collection delivery times before you visit.

For the security of our collections you are not able to bring any bags, food or drink into the Special Collections Reading Room. Food and drink, large bags, coats, umbrellas and other large objects can be stored in our free self-service lockers on Lower Ground 1. 

For Special Collections Reading Room opening hours see our opening hours page

The Petherick Reading Room is co-located within the Special Collections Reading Room and provides a dedicated space for registered advanced researchers.