Archives and Special Collections

What we collect

We add to our collections through donation, internal transfer within the University of Leicester, and long-term loans. This page contains information about how we develop our collections and useful information if you have something to offer us. For information about how we will process your material see how to donate or transfer material.

Visit our digital preservation page for information specific to transferring digital archives to us.

Our collections

Archives and Special Collections preserve and provide access to the University's collections of rare and unique library and archive material. We acquire material which supports learning, teaching and research across our academic departments, enhances our institutional memory, and strengthens the relationship between the University and its city and region. 

Our collections development activity is focused on a number of priority areas guided by the strategic aims of the University. However, future collecting is not restricted to these areas. All offers of significant material which supports the University’s priorities in the areas of research, learning and community engagement will be considered.

Our priority areas

Under our Collecting Strategy for Archives and Special Collections, 2017-2022, our current priority areas for collecting are:

World leading research of the University of Leicester

Archives documenting major contributions to human knowledge by University of Leicester researchers.

Institutional archives of the University of Leicester

Priority areas include, but are not restricted to:

  • central administrative archives
  • archives of academic departments
  • archives documenting innovative pedagogy and teaching practice.

Collections which enhance the understanding of the role of the University in the life of the local community

Priority areas include, but are not restricted to:

  • archives relating to the social life of the University, including student and staff political, cultural, sporting and charitable activities.
  • archives reflecting and supporting the University’s commitments in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • personal papers of the founders of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College.
  • archives relating to local organisations closely associated with the University.

Literary cultures of Leicester

  • Private archives of internationally and nationally renowned modern and contemporary writers who are strongly associated with Leicester and Leicestershire.
  • Publications of the Leicestershire Private Press movement.
  • Rare published editions of works by Leicester and Leicestershire authors.

Museum Studies

  • Archives of professional organisations representing the museums sector in the UK.

Rare books

We seek to enhance our rare book collection through the acquisition of books that:

  • add to the existing strengths of our collections.
  • relate to the teaching and research interests of the University.
  • strengthen the relationship between the University and the local community.
  • meet the criteria for acceptance of gifts defined in the University Library Collection Policy.

If you have rare books or archives that you are considering offering to the University Library, please contact or phone 0116 252 2056 and a member of our team will be able to advise you.

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