Rare books collection

The Rare Books Collection contains a small number of items which are kept in a secure area. Examples of what is there include very old items - generally anything published before 1800, signed copies and significant first editions. There are also a few hard-to-replace art books, such as nineteenth-century exhibition catalogues and associated material, and a number of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century periodicals.

Items within the Rare Books Collection are listed on the Library Catalogue. The shelfmark of the book is preceded by RARE BOOKS COLL. The Build Search options allows you to search within the Rare Books Collection.

Rare books are for reference only and may only be consulted during hours when Library staff are available.  Please refer to the Reception Desk opening hours.

Please ask a member of Library staff to collect the item for you. Staff will note your details and will ask you to consult the book at a table near the Loans Help Desk. If items are fragile, we will ask you to handle them with care and refrain from photocopying. You may wish to photograph sections instead. Items should be returned to a member of Library staff at least 30 minutes before the desk closes.

Bolton Collection

You may also discover books where the shelfmark is preceded by BOLTON COLL (RESERVE STOCK). This collection was donated to the University by Arthur T. Bolton (1864-1945), architect and architectural historian. It covers architecture, archaeology, art history and garden design. As with the Rare Books collection, items are reference only and a member of library staff will need to collect them for you.

Glass Cupboard

The Glass Cupboard Collection is situated in the atrium. Items in this collection may be fragile or unusual, e.g. pop-up books. You can identify items on the catalogue as the shelfmark is preceded by GLASS CUPBOARD. A member of library staff will collect them for you. Items can be borrowed as normal but if you choose not to take the items away, please return them to a member of staff, if possible.

Using Collections for Teaching

Members of academic staff wishing to use items from these collections in their teaching should contact their Faculty Librarian.