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Senate House Library

The Special Collections Reading Room

We are open weekdays, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11:00 to 17:00, and Wednesday 11:00 to 19:00.

  • To request and consult items, use the main Library Catalogue or use the separate catalogue for Archives and Manuscripts.
  • Please allow a minimum of 48 hours when placing your request and when choosing the date you would like to visit. This will allow enough time to process orders and ensure they are available when you visit.
  • This is an invigilated, silent area. Please show consideration for others while using the room.


Using the reading room

Regulations for using the Special Collections Reading Room

  1. Users must put their bags and coats in a locker before viewing materials.
  2. You may only consult one rare book or archive folder at a time.
  3. Please read books on the rests provided, using chains to minimise the need to touch the volumes, and consult archival and manuscript material in line with Special Collections staff guidance.
  4. Only pencils may be used.
  5. You are responsible for all materials issued to you for consultation until you return those materials to a member of Special Collections staff.
  6. Handheld devices may be used to take digital images for non-commercial research or private study only.
  7. Eating and drinking, including bottled water, is not permitted.
  8. Please note that this area is under security camera surveillance.