Please note: You must book a reading room session and then preorder items you wish to consult at least 24 hours before you arrive.
You can arrange to have books or manuscripts placed on reserve in preparation for a visit to the Special Collections Reading Room.
You should preorder manuscripts at least 48 hours before you visit the Library. Although there is no need to preorder material for use during the day, please note that you must preorder manuscripts for use after 15.30 on Monday-Friday and after 11.00 on Saturday.
We keep reserved manuscripts for up to six working days. When you arrive, please tell the invigilator in the Special Collections Reading Room that you have material on reserve. Reserved manuscripts are delivered on request within a few minutes of your arrival in the Special Collections Reading Room.
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.
Preordering rare books
Registered readers can order rare books using Library Search. 'Rare books' = pre-1851 printed items and all printed material in special collections.
Not available to preorder online:
- Reference material on open access in the reading rooms
- Material which is not in Library Search.
You should preorder rare books at least 48 hours before you visit the Library. We can fetch many books more quickly than this, but we keep some in another building and cannot guarantee that any books will be delivered in less than 48 hours. If you preorder by email please ensure you receive confirmation of your order before coming to the Library.
After consulting material in the Special Collections Reading Room you may reserve items for up to six working days. To reserve items, fill in a blue reservation slip and return it to the staff at the Collection and Return desk with the items.
See the Special Collections Reading Room enquiries page for contact details.