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Library Guides

Special Collections

Accessing the Collections

Staff and students wanting to access the collections for research purposes must undertake an induction first. Time-tabled sessions for the Special collections arranged by your tutor will include an induction to the collections. If you are not time-tabled for a session you can contact to book an induction. These usually take 15 minutes. Once inducted you will be able to access the collections between 8am -8pm. Permissions last for the duration of your course.

The Keys

There is a key pack for each collection. Once inducted you will be able to borrow the pack for the collection you wish to view. To view more than one collection you will need to borrow more than one pack. In the pack are the keys to collection cabinets, a swipe card to enter the room and a copy of the rules and regulations. Please ensure all the items are in the pack on issue and on return. You collect the pack from the library counter.

How the Books are Arranged

As with the library's main shelves, the books are organised by our shelf numbering system (Dewey). Each cupboard is numbered and there is a corresponding key. Cupboard number one houses the oversize books - also in Dewey order. Cupboards two to six are the ordinary sized books of the collection. As much of the collection was assembled as examples of Typography and Illustration, many books are classified by this aspect rather than their textual content. 

Finding Items

Although we suggest that you would have a richer experience browsing the collection you can use Primo to pinpoint specific material as you would in the main library collections. Change Primo's setting from quick search to Special Collections and then simply enter the topic or title as usual.

Handling the Collections

Many of our items are very old and therefore quite fragile and need gentle handling - We have cushions available to be used with our most fragile - these can be found on top of the Zines filing cabinets in the far corner of the Special Collections room. Please place the cushions back there when you have finished with them

We do not provide gloves for handling as we feel damage is more likely to happen when handling the books and we follow the British Library's adviceIf a page does become loose or falls out, or a spine breaks whilst you are handling items, do not panic, just reshelve after use and report it as soon as possible so we can apply TLC to the item if necessary. The items are old and accidents happen.

Rules and Regulations

Please follow these rules and regulation when using the Special Collections:

  • Handle items with care
  • You are responsible for the keys and collection that you use
  • If any item goes missing, you will be billed
  • Do not eat or drink in the Special Collections room
  • Do not remove any item from the room
  • Do not lend the keys to anyone
  • Return keys on time to avoid overdue charge
  • Make sure all doors to the collections are locked before leaving