The Special Collections Reading Room has seating for 36 readers, with additional seating at four high-level tables for consulting large size items.

Consultation room

The consultation room is reserved primarily for use by readers with special needs or for those wishing to use our audio equipment.

Readers can also use it who wish to work in small groups of up to four. You should speak to reading room staff if you would like to use the room. Alternatively, you can contact the Special Collections team at SCAEnquiries@nls.uk providing details of your requirements and one of the team will get back to you.


Enquiry desk

Staff at the Enquiry desk can:

  • Answer any subject enquiries or direct you to a releveant member of staff to answer your question
  • Offer general help with manuscripts, rare books and other special classes of material
  • Deal with enquiries about copying services.

Collection and Return desk

The Collection and Return desk is where you can:

  • Collect your reserve items
  • Place new orders for material
  • Direct any general enquiries about use of the reading room or delivery times for material
  • Ask about copying services
  • Return material you are finished with or wish to reserve.


Invigilation desk

Staff at the Invigilation and Security desk are primarily concerned with the security and conservation of the collections. They will provide help and advice on handling of the collections and the correct use of book supports and other conservation aids.


Additional facilities

Additional facilities include:

  • A range of specialist catalogues, finding aids and reference works
  • WiFi access
  • Individual task lighting and power points for laptop use at each desk
  • Three public computers giving access to our website, online catalogues and eResources (formerly called licensed digital collections)
  • Audio / visual facilities
  • A microform reader
  • A magnifying CCTV reader for people with visual impairments
  • A cold light source
  • Infra-red and ultra-violet light sources
  • Conservation book-cradles.

Please note that for the protection of the collections, you can only use pencil in the Special Collections Reading Room.


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