Using the Special Collections Reading Room

The Special Collections Reading Room is on the fourth floor of Senate House Library.

The Reading Room is an invigilated space for the use of Archives and Manuscripts and printed Special Collections. It also houses the Palaeography and Manuscript Studies and Book Studies Collections.

Special Collections Reading Room opening hours.

When you arrive in the Reading Room, please visit the staffed enquiry desk, where you will be asked to sign in. All bags, cases and coats need to be stored in a locker.

First-time archive readers will be asked to complete an additional registration form.


Regulations for the use of the Special Collections Reading Room

In order to provide a safe and secure environment for the consultation of rare and fragile material, all Readers are asked to observe the following regulations when using the Reading Room:

  1. Please leave all bags, coats and laptop cases in the lockers provided.  On departure, please empty your locker and return the key to the member of staff at the Special Collections enquiry desk.  Personal property must not be left overnight in lockers or in the  Reading Room
  2. When signing in, please provide your full name, library barcode number and affiliation
  3. Please read books on the rests provided, using snake weights 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, at the discretion of Special Collections staff and in accordance with notices displayed in the Reading Room
  7. Eating and drinking, including bottled water, is not permitted

The Reading Room is covered by CCTV.