Archives and Special Collections

Access our collections

Opening hours

Our Archives and Special Collections can be accessed by appointment during our opening hours. Please contact us before you plan to visit and a member of the team will be happy to help. We can also offer remote appointments to view collection items via Microsoft Teams.

Day  Reading Room opening hours
 Monday  Closed
 Tuesday -Friday  10.00am - 4.45pm
 Saturday – Sunday  Closed

Consulting our collections

We welcome visits from students, staff and external researchers. 

We provide physical access to collections in the Kirby and West Special Collections Suite, located in the basement of the David Wilson Library. When you visit, we will ask you to help us to preserve our collections by only bringing into the reading room pencils, notepads, mobile phone set to silent or laptop. Lockers are available for safe storage of bags, and food and drink can be consumed in designated areas outside of our reading room.  

We request that you use the provided conservation aids (book pillows, weights etc) to ensure that items are adequately supported, and that you do not remove items from sleeves or change the order they have been given to you in. 

By signing in to our reading room you are agreeing to following the guidance here and any instructions regarding our collections given to you by staff on duty. 

Viewing rare books

All of our rare books can be located using Library Search. Once you have found the item you would like to consult, please place a request from the catalogue record or contact us. Once your item is available for you to view, you will receive an email inviting you to make an appointment to visit. 

Accessing archives

We will always try to make items from our archive collections available as soon as possible. For catalogued collections stored in the David Wilson Library, we can usually make material ready for consultation within two working days. Some of our collections are stored offsite, and some material is uncatalogued. These collections will usually take longer to retrieve. We will be able to advise you of likely retrieval times when you contact us. 

Many of our archive collections contain unpublished information about living people. Before visiting us to access this material, please familiarise yourself with our Data Protection Guidance and Statement.

Please contact us to request access to our archives.

Making copies

We encourage you to take your own digital photographs of items during your visit, with the flash switched off and without risking the safety of the material. If you require higher resolution images for publication etc, then please ask and we can provide details of costs, timescales etc. 

Some of the material we hold is subject to copyright. Copyright can be held by a range of depositors including, but not limited to, the University of Leicester, private individuals, estates or trusts and commercial entities. The University does not have the right to grant permission to reuse all of the material it holds, so if you are planning to share an image in any way, then you will need to factor in enough time, and in some cases, pay a fee, to gain permission to do this. We can provide you with a license form and either liaise with copyright holders on your behalf, or advise on how to get started. You must provide us with proof of permission from the rights holder before we will supply you with a high resolution copy for sharing. 

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