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 kept in Special Collections for 24 hours for claiming then passed on to Library Security:
  • Mobile phones must be turned to silent.
  • Please sign in and out on the Day Register of readers at the Supervisor's Desk each day you use Special Collections.
  • The reading room is a quiet study area. 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 bottled water, chewing gum and sweets.
  • Only pencils, PCs, laptops & tablets 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 if you wish to view a large amount of items, please contact us in advance at:
  • 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. Items are usually made available within a short time from ordering but this cannot be guaranteed, especially during busy times.
  • 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/ book cushion when open. Adjust the cradle or cushion 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.
Using your personal information: We will process your personal information to provide you with access to our collections, to respond to your enquiries, to maintain the security and preservation of Archives & Special Collections, and for statistical reporting. For more information, see the University of Glasgow ( privacy notices online or ask our staff.  Special Collections is monitored by CCTV.