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Using Special Collections at the Main Library

Some Special Collections are located in the 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, who will direct your enquiry to the appropriate member of staff.

See also the information on retrieving Special Collections rare books from the Main Library store.

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 direct you to the Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor of the Blue area. Once there, you should ring the door bell and a member of staff will welcome you. Please deposit your bags, umbrellas and outer coats in the lockers outside the Reading Room. Please note: we cannot accommodate suitcases.

Special Collections items will be issued to you at the Issue Desk. 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.

Opening hours

Normal opening hours of the Special Collections Reading Room at The Universtiy of Manchester Main Library are:

  • Monday-Friday, 9.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 4.30pm.

More restricted opening hours apply to the Christian Brethren Archive.

The Reader Service is closed on public holidays.

An appointment must be made in advance of your visit to ensure that Special Collections materials are available when you arrive.

Find us

The Special Collections Reading Room at the Main Library, on the Oxford Road campus, is located in the University Archive and Record Centre on Blue 4.

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: