Please note: At present there is limited access to reading room services. For details of what is available, and also what you are unable to do, see the George IV Bridge reading rooms information on our reopening page.
For manuscripts, you should first consult the relevant catalogue in the reading room to identify the material you wish to read. You must then complete the online manuscript order form either on your own computer or using the public computers in the Special Collections Reading Room. Separate requests should be placed for each manuscript you require.
A small number of our manuscript collections have restricted access. These require prior notice and, in some cases, permission to view. If you are in doubt about access to a collection, please email email@example.com at least two working days in advance of your visit. You may also like to refer to our list of manuscript curators which details their areas of curatorial responsibility.
Rare books and music
For printed items, you should consult the relevant catalogue to identify the required item, and then place an online request via Library Search.
Items with restricted access
A small number of books, maps and manuscripts of particular cultural significance have restricted access for preservation reasons:
- These items are available for consultation only for research which needs the originals and cannot be undertaken using existing surrogates
- You must give us 48 hours' notice that you wish to consult the item(s)
- If permission to consult is agreed, the item(s) will be read in the Special Collections Reading Room between 10:00 and 16:00 on weekdays (Monday-Fridays) only.
- Items in this category will not be available for consultation on Saturdays.
Photographs at 'Phot.' shelfmark
Some of our photographic collections are stored in a cool store to improve their preservation.
These items need to undergo an overnight acclimatisation procedure, and so you must request them by 15.15 so that we can issue them the following day. Requests made after 15.15 on a Friday will not be available until the following Tuesday.
The collections that are affected have the Library shelfmark 'Phot.', and we have flagged them up with a notice on their Library Search record.