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Special Collections & Archives logo : Visiting & Using

SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) - SCA Reading Room Temporary Closure 

The University of Liverpool is closely monitoring national and international developments in relation to COVID-19 and taking actions as appropriate. As a result, we have taken the decision to close the SCA Reading Room effective from Wednesday 18th March 2020 until further notice.

As such, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate appointment requests to view SCA material at present. 

The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors is our highest priority and while we realise that the closure of the SCA Reading Room will cause inconvenience and disappointment, this temporary measure is aimed at ensuring that our response to the current situation remains responsible and informed by the latest public health advice and expertise.

Although the email account will be monitored by SCA staff during this closed period, unfortunately we will be unable to answer research enquiries or provide reprographics orders without the required access to material to do so.

We thank our readers for their patience and understanding on this matter and we look forward to welcoming our readers again in the future. 


Visiting us


Special Collections and Archives (SC&A) is open to members of the University of Liverpool and visitors from external institutions, as well as the public. 

Non-University of Liverpool visitors should bring some form of photo ID (e.g. driving licence, travel pass, passport), in order to gain access to the Sydney Jones Library.

Material may be consulted by appointment only. 

Book an appointment

To consult material, you must contact us in advance to make an appointment. Appointments must be made by 4pm at the latest the day before your intended visit. 

People studying in SCA researcher reading room

When requesting your appointment date, please also provide the reference numbers, titles, dates and any further applicable information (such as issue no. or volume) of the material you wish to consult. This information may be located via the online catalogues. The Library catalogue contains records for all printed material, and there are online finding aids for archives and manuscripts. 

We require this information with advance notice as we operate a closed access service, whereby material is retrieved from the stores prior to your visit.

If you require any assistance in locating the reference numbers of the material you wish to consult, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Reading Room regulations

The SC&A Reading Room has places for 19 readers, with power sockets and wireless internet access available (via eduroam or Guestnet).

  • On arrival at SC&A, please leave coats and bags in the secure foyer (intercom access). Lockers are provided free of charge.
  • At the Reception desk, please sign the register of readers and provide photographic I.D to SC&A staff.
  • In the Reading Room, only pencils and notebooks/paper or laptops, tablets and mobile devices may be used for taking notes. Please leave any other stationery, document files/folders/wallets, or laptop cases in the lockers provided.
  • Material must not be written on or marked in any way. 
  • Food and drink must not be consumed in the Reading Room. There are refreshment facilities on campus. 
  • Permission is required to photograph any items. Please inform SC&A staff prior to taking any photographs and disable the flash function on your device. Tripods and scanners are prohibited. 
  • The Reading Room is a silent study area. Please switch any personal devices to silent mode. 
  • All readers must abide by our reading room regulations, and follow the document handling guidelines provided. 
  • Material may be consulted one item at a time (one book, one file of papers, one volume etc).

SC&A staff are on hand to assist with document handling throughout your visit. Please do not hesitate to request assistance if required. 


Teaching Room bookings

Teaching class in Special Collections and ArchivesThe SC&A Teaching Room is available for bookings by University of Liverpool academics for seminar style classes of up to 15 students (8 maximum for classes consulting medieval manuscripts or early printed material).

Material from the collections may be made available for the session and staff are available to provide an introduction to the SC&A service and to discuss the collections.

Teaching room booking enquiries must be submitted at least 5 working days in advance of the intended session date. This is to give us good time to condition check the material. However, advance bookings are recommended to secure your slot.




Please contact us with enquiries regarding the collections and SC&A staff will be happy to advise further wherever possible. We may take up to 5 working days to respond to enquiries. 


SC&A offers an in-house reprographics service (subject to a fee). 

To enquire about ordering copies of SC&A material, please contact us and provide the reference number(s) and any other applicable information (title, date, vol.). SC&A staff will retrieve the material from the stores, check the material is suitable to be copied, and provide a cost within 5 working days. This information may used to complete the SC&A copying request form (PDF)

Copying services are available subject to copyright regulations, but please note that the physical condition and size of an item may prohibit any copying.

All photocopying, scanning and photography orders for copies of SC&A materials are carried out by SC&A staff, with the exception of self-service digital photography (permission required)

All orders will be processed promptly, but readers should expect to wait up to 5 working days for orders to be completed on receipt of payment.


If you wish to use any images from Special Collections & Archives in print or electronic publications, a licence is required, for which there may be a further charge. 

To enquire about publishing images of SC&A material, please complete the SC&A licensing request form (PDF) and return this to us. 


Contact us


Opening Times

Saturday & Sunday - Closed


How to find us

The Special Collections & Archives reception area and reading room is on the ground floor of the Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library.

The Sydney Jones Library is building 423 on the University campus map.

The physical address is: Sydney Jones Library, Chatham Street, Liverpool, L69 7WZ.

While the postal address is: Special Collections and Archives, Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool, PO BOX 123, Liverpool, L69 3DA .

For information on directions, public transport and car parking please see Visiting the University webpage.