Leeds University Library

About Special Collections

What we have What we do Who we work with How you can help

What we have

Over 200,000 rare books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts and archives.

Designated status for outstanding national and international collections.

Home to the Institutional Archive of the University.

Generous benefactions that continue to strengthen our collections.

Strong partnerships with other important organisations in Yorkshire.

What we do

Special Collections blog: find out what projects team is currently working on, what collections are being acquired and catalogued and what research and collaborations are underway.

Special features: items from the collections are put in the spotlight.

Exhibitions: items from Special Collections are often exhibited at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and further afield and our online exhibitions showcase highlights from digitised collections.  Exhibition proposals are welcome - guidance and forms can be found on the downloads page. Requests for loans should be directed to the relevant contact detailed in our Special Collections and Art Gallery loans policy.

Conservation studio: expertly preserving rare books and manuscripts.

Digitisation studio: photographing unique items from the collections.

Literary Archives Project: providing new opportunities for teaching and research.

Who we work with


We work collaboratively with groups and on project both within the University and beyond.

Related archives on campus

There are other archives on the University campus that can complement your research:

Marks & Spencer

ULITA - an Archive of International Textiles

How you can help


If you want to donate material to Special Collections or the University Archive contact us in the first instance to discuss the offer with a member of staff.


Depending on our current plan of work and the projects being undertaken, there are volunteer opportunities at Special Collections. Preference is given to our students and those associated with the University of Leeds, either seeking work experience or having specialist skills that strengthen the work of the service. Volunteers help with conservation and collection description.

To find out about current opportunities, contact us with a current CV, details of availability and areas of interest.