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Using the Special Collections Reading Room

Information to help you use the Special Collections Reading Room. 

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 manuscript ript

Using the Special Collections Reading Room

Information to help you use the Special Collections Reading Room. 

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.

The Special Collections Reading Room is now open on Tuesdays 11am-2.45pm only via advance booking. Order special collections & archives and book your study space slot by sending an email.

To comply with social distancing, study spaces are limited. Please ensure you have the email confirming your order and study space booking before travelling to Senate House and have it ready to show staff on arrival.

If you already have a pre-booked slot, please check in at the Library Membership Desk on the 4th floor of Senate House.

For general study space (outside of the Special Collections Reading Room) Senate House Library is open Monday to Thursday, 11am-3pm, advance booking only (book study slots online).

A Click, Collect & Return service is also in operation to facilitate study off site. You can pick-up and drop-off your Click & Collect orders made online Monday to Thursday, 11am-3pm.

Please note: Apart from the Click and Collect service and the limited Library opening (for members, by appointment), no other Library services are currently available on site.

Important notice about using the reading room during coronavirus

  • Hand sanitiser is only available outside the door of the reading room.

  • Please make sure your hands are completely dry before touching any materials as it can damage the items.

  • To limit handling of materials, your pre-booked items will be waiting for you on your allotted desk space.

  • Please keep any items you have finished viewing to one-side, and staff will collect them after closing.

  • Keep in mind that you may only view one archive folder or one rare book at a time.

  • Users should not return locker keys or other items directly to staff - please use the quarantine box provided instead.

  • For any enquiries, ask the member of staff at the reading room reception desk.

  • Please ensure that you have your confirmation email or a valid ID.

The Reading Room is covered by CCTV.