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Reading Room

When using the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room you will be provided with a swipe card and locker key.  Only items necessary for your research should be carried into the Reading Room, everything else should be stored in the locker provided.

The following items are NOT permitted in the Reading Room:

  • Pens, biros or any ink
  • Food or drink of any type (including bottled water)
  • Overcoats or bags
  • Books from other areas of the library or personal copies (except with permission of the Special Collections & Archives staff)


The books, pamphlets, journals, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and maps located here are considered to be of lasting research value.  In order to ensure their preservation readers are asked to treat the material with care and to respect other people in the Reading Room.  We would ask users to:

  • Use book marks - don't leave books propped open, lying face down, fold corners or bookmark using other books or pencils.
  • Make sure your hands are clean - you should not handle material if you have just applied handcream. Please be aware that newsprint ink is easily transferred - avoid handling newspapers before consulting Special Collections material.
  • Do not place items on the floor.
  • Do not stack more than 3 books on the desk.
  • Please ask staff before using a digital camera or scanner.
  • Do not attach notes to books.
  • Do not write, lean or rest on top of collection items.
  • Please respect other users by not talking and switching off mobile phones.


Please note that there is a limit on the number of items you may consult in the Reading Room at a time – normally a maximum of 5.

When using manuscripts, old or fragile books:

  • Keep loose documents in their original order and handle one at a time (individual papers should be kept flat on the table, not held or creased).
  • It may be necessary to use special supports with some fragile materials (please ask staff).
  • Uncut book pages should be brought to the attention of Special Collections & Archives staff.


Readers are requested to return as much material as possible 15 minutes prior to the closing of the Reading Room – your help in this is very much appreciated.  


Manuscript and Rare Book material must be returned 15 minutes prior to closing.

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