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Archives and Special Collections

Welcome to our Special Collections LibGuide

Special Collections manages the University Library's collections of unique and rare materials, which include archives, manuscripts, and rare books. Our holdings comprise more than 500 archive and manuscript collections and more than 50,000 rare books.

Our collections are available for everyone - students, staff and members of the public - to access in our reading room. The collections can also be made available to use in teaching sessions at the university, providing students with a unique opportunity to engage with and interrogate primary sources. In addition, there are several on-campus and digital exhibitions for you to explore, and we also offer a range of exciting outreach and public engagement activities.

Special Collections Contact Information

Special Collections Enquiries:


Phone: 01392 72 2097​

Opening Hours: Please see our Visiting Heritage Collections page for details


Digital Collections:

Twitter: @UoEHeritageColl


General Library Enquiries:



Catalogues and Resources

The collections date between the late 13th century and the present day, and cover many different subject areas, with major highlights in 20th century writers associated with the South-West of England; literature and visual culture; Victorian culture; Middle East studies; and religion.

The Reading Room

The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is located in the Old Library on the Unviersity of Exeter Streatham Campus. Items ordered from Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum are consulted in the Reading Room. The Reading Room is open Monday to Friday, please see our Visiting Heritage Collections page for more details. Readers wishing to access material need to be aware of the following:

  • Please book in advance if you wish to use material from our collections.
  • Members of the University of Exeter should bring their University Library card.
  • External users will be asked to register by completing the External Reader registration form, and bring photo ID, such as a driving license or passport.
  • You may use paper and pencil or your own laptop or tablet for taking notes. Pens are not allowed in the reading room.

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University of Exeter LibGuide is licensed under CC BY 4.0