Reading Room Regulations

Reading Room Regulations


  • Special Collections is situated on Level 12 of the Library building. When you arrive in the department, please hang up your coat, or any other outer garment, in the wardrobes provided at the entrance. All bags and hold-alls should also be left there. Lockers are also available for the storage of bags/valuables. Please note that items must not be left in lockers overnight. Any items left in lockers when the department closes will be taken down to lost property at the Level 2 lending desk.
  • Mobile phones must be switched off.
  • Please sign the Day Register of readers at the Supervisor's Desk each day you use Special Collections.
  • Conversations should be kept to a minimum, and if possible carried out in the lobby.
  • Smoking is prohibited throughout the Library,
  • Consumption of all food and drink is forbidden. This includes water, chewing gum and sweets.
  • Only pencils and computers may be used for taking notes. The use of computer scanning devices is forbidden.
  • No material may be removed from the Reading Room.

Requesting material

  • Please note that not all material is available on demand. In order to view certain items, such as those subject to restrictions, especially large or heavy items, or a whole collection, please ask the Duty Supervisor.
  • Sometimes an item is temporarily unavailable because it is: being used by another reader; in an exhibition; being copied; or at conservation.
  • A blue issue slip must be clearly filled in for each item or uninterrupted sequence of items, indicating your name, the date, and author and title of the item requested. To avoid delays in the retrieval of items it is essential that the shelfmark be transcribed accurately. Slips when completed should be handed to the Supervisor on duty.
  • By signing the blue slip you are assuming responsibility for that item until it is returned to the Supervisor's Desk.
  • Readers are requested to present no more than five slips at a time to the Supervisor. Up to 30 minutes should be allowed for the delivery of each item.
  • No items will be fetched later than 30 minutes before closing.
  • All requests for photocopying and/or photography must be lodged with the Duty Supervisor not less than 30 minutes before closing.
  • All books/manuscripts must be handed back to the desk supervisor 15 minutes before closing time.

Handling material

  • Ensure that your hands are clean. If your hands become dirty from handling the material (especially from the older bindings), please wash them to avoid transference of dirt. Wash basins are available in the toilets on level 12.
  • Always place a book flat on the table when closed or on a foam book cradle when open. Adjust the cradle so that it supports the book. Never place a book face down.
  • Do not lean on a book or other document.
  • Please use the book weights (or "snakes") provided if you need to keep a book open. Use only acid-free slips (available from the Supervisor) to mark your place.
  • Pencils only should be used.
  • Clean gloves (provided by the Supervisor) should be worn when handling drawings and photographs.
  • The order of material supplied in boxes should be preserved.

Copying material

For details of our service, including self service photography, please refer to Order copies/images.

  • Requests for copying should be made by filling in the appropriate coloured form (one per document).
  • Please note that the physical condition of an item or current copyright law may prohibit any copying.
  • All orders will be processed promptly, but readers should expect to wait at least five working days for photocopying orders and four to six weeks for photographic orders. Orders may be posted out.