Using Special Collections at the Main Library

In person and digital appointments

Researchers can book appointments to access material in the Special Collections Reading Rooms at the Main Library (see below). You can also book a digital appointment to view a small amount of Special Collections via a Zoom call.

Appointments are available from Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm. 

Limited spaces are available, and you must book a place in advance before coming to the reading room. We ask for three day's notice to view most items, except for those requiring curatorial approval or delivery from off-site which may take longer. A member of staff will check the status of the material and confirm the date and location of your appointment.

Main Library collections

Some Special Collections are located in the Main Library on the Oxford Road campus. These include archives of The University of Manchester, Christian Brethren archives, many scientific books and post-1800 medical books, medical drawings and paintings, and maps.

If you wish to consult material from these collections, please contact the Special Collections Reader Service on 0161 275 3764 or email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk, who will direct your enquiry to the appropriate member of staff.

Further information

  • There are separate arrangements for consulting maps.
  • You must be registered as a reader before you can use the reading room.

When you arrive at the Main Library, the staff on the ground-floor Reception Desk will notify a member of Reader Services staff, and we will come to reception to welcome you and show you to the Reading Room. 

Special Collections items will be issued to you. We will provide you with book-rests, weights and nitrile gloves as appropriate. We will explain how to use them if you are unsure.

Staff are always on hand to help - please don't be afraid to ask! We want your visit to be as enjoyable and productive as possible.

Find us

The Special Collections Reading Room at the Main Library, on the Oxford Road campus, is located on the Ground Floor. Staff will greet you at reception and show you to the Reading Room.

It is accessible to wheelchair users.

The Main Library is building no. 55 on the University's Campus Map.

For directions to the University, see the Maps and travel page.

Contact us

For any enquiries relating to our Special Collections, please contact us:

Privacy notice

We will collect and store your personal data in line with the Special Collections Privacy Notice: