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Plan a visit

Everyone is welcome to visit the Special Collections research centre. Contact us to book an appointment and tell us what you want to view.

Check the Special Collections opening hours.

Order your items in advance

Items are not on open shelves. Please give us at least two working days' notice to retrieve the items you want. Search our catalogues in advance to aid your research.

You can order a maximum of ten items in advance. You have the option to request more on the day, but it may not always be possible for us to retrieve items during busy periods or due to limited staff.

Some items are held off-site in the Leeds University Archive or Western Campus Store. We will therefore need five working days' notice for any items held in these locations, to ensure that they can be transported in time for your visit.

Other items may need more than two days advance notice for reasons concerning conservation or data protection. This primarily affects the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Socitey and the Feminist Archive North collections. Once we receive your request we will consider the items requested and let you know if there is any reason to delay your visit.

You can have one archive file or box and up to three books on your desk at a time. If you’ve ordered more material, we’ll keep it ready for you behind the desk.

How to access Special Collections

The entrance to Special Collections is on the upper balcony of the Brotherton Library round reading room (main building floor 4).

University staff and students simply need their staff or student ID to access Special Collections.

If you're an external visitor, you will need to register with us first. Please bring photo ID with confirmation of your signature and present address on your first visit.

Accepted forms of ID are:

  • passport
  • driving license
  • university/college ID
  • library card
  • bank card

Once registered, we will provide a visitor pass as well as a username and password to access our catalogue PCs.

What happens when you arrive

To keep our collections safe and secure, the door into the study areas is kept shut. When you arrive, please ring the bell and our desk team will let you in. You will need to leave your bags and coats in one of the lockers.

Clear plastic bags are available if you want to take valuables as well as paper and pencils into the reading room.

You can use cameras and laptops. There are power points in the reading room and the group study areas.

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking are not permitted in the Special Collections research centre. There are several cafés on campus where you can take a break.


Car parking on campus is extremely limited and you are advised to use one of the public car parks that are available close by.