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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 Information

SCA Reading Room Reopening (updated 19/03/2021)

Special Collections & Archives will reopen the Reading Room service by appointment only to University of Liverpool staff and students from Tuesday 23rd March onwards. More information on booking an appointment is available in the 'Visiting Us' section of this webpage and we look at common FAQs on our blog post here

The future reopening of the service to external visitors (including members of other institutions and members of the public) is dependant upon national restrictions and University policy. Our reprographics service remains available in the meantime; this is available for up to 100 images per person and is subject to the size and condition of the requested material. Please email us for further information and pricing.

We are currently accessing the collections for enquiry purposes (including digitisation requests and research enquiries). Our staff resource is limited by social distancing requirements and teaching support commitments for University of Liverpool staff and students, therefore our response time to email correspondence is subject to delay and your enquiry may be placed in a pending queue.

We are doing our best to answer enquiries as quickly as possible. In the meantime, a member of the team will be in touch to confirm that your enquiry has been logged.

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this time.

Visiting us


Who can access SCA?

Special Collections and Archives is open to University of Liverpool staff and students by prior appointment. The future reopening of the service to external visitors (including members of other institutions and members of the public) is dependant upon national restrictions and University policy.


How to book an appointment slot

People studying in SCA researcher reading roomTo consult material, you must contact us in advance to make an appointment and confirm the material you wish to consult. The SCA Reading Room is closed at present. 

Appointments must be requested by 4pm at least 3 days in advance of the intended appointment date. However, we recommend contacting us as far in advance as possible to secure your chosen appointment slot.  

Appointments are available in slots. Each appointment slot allows access between either 11am-1pm or 2pm-4pm, Tuesday to Friday. The SCA service is closed between 1pm-2pm to allow for the sanitising of common touch points (such as door handles) and staff breaks.

One person may attend each appointment slot and use the Reading Room at any given time. Appointments for multiple persons are unavailable at present.

In order to ensure that all readers may access the SCA service only one slot per day may be booked per person. However, users are welcome to request appointments for multiple consecutive dates. SCA staff will be happy to advise further on availability.

To request an appointment please email us at


How to request material 

When requesting your appointment date(s) and preferred time slot, 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. No further retrievals are conducted during your appointment visit.

We can facilitate the viewing of up to approximately three archival boxes of material or six bound volumes per appointment. This is dependent upon the size and condition of the specific material requested for your appointment. SCA staff will be happy to advise in advance of your appointment if your request has reached/exceeded the limit. This limit is in place to ensure that all material may be quarantined for 72 hours before being safely returned to the stores.

Large format material (such as plans and oversized material) may be unavailable to consult in the Reading Room at present. SCA staff will be happy to advise further. 

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


Reading Room regulations

Special Collections and Archives is based in the Sydney Jones Library. Please bring proof of your appointment with you (e.g. your email confirmation), as this may be required to gain access to the Sydney Jones Library building.

SCA material is consulted in the Reading Room, which includes power sockets and wireless internet access (via eduroam or Guestnet).

  • All readers must sign-in the ‘Appointment Registration’ form prior to consulting any material in SCA, and abide by the Reading Room Regulations provided in Section B during their visit.
  • Please wash your hands before visiting SCA. Facilities are available in the main foyer area of the Sydney Jones Library. Hand sanitiser is available in the SCA Reception but prohibited in the Reading Room. Please ensure hand sanistiser has evaporated before handing material.
  • On arrival at SCA, please leave belongings in the secure foyer (intercom access). A locker is provided free of charge. A member of the team will advise your locker number on arrival.
  • You may bring a pencil, paper/notepad, laptop/tablet, and a mobile phone (switched to silent) into the Reading Room. SCA is unable to lend equipment at present.
  • Once you have placed your belongings in the lockers, please proceed into the Reception area and present photographic I.D to SCA staff. Markers are provided on the floor to promote effective social distancing.
  • A member of the team will ensure the material is set-up on the specialist book rests and provide book weights where necessary. 
  • Material must not be leaned on, written on, or marked in any way.
  • Food and drink must not be consumed in the Reading Room.
  • Permission is required to photograph any items. Please inform SCA 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.
  • SCA staff are on hand to assist with document handling throughout your visit. Please do not hesitate to request assistance if required.
  • Once your visit is complete, please leave all SCA material and completed paperwork in the Reading Room. 

Teaching Room bookings

Teaching class in Special Collections and Archives

The SC&A Teaching Room is unavailable to book for sessions taking place in the 2020-21 academic year. The teaching room space is too limited to ensure that social distancing measures are safely adhered to. Similarly, in order to adhere with University policy and social distancing measures in the department, the team will be operating at a limited staff presence in the office.

However, we welcome enquiries regarding remote support for teaching in the form of digitised content. Please do contact us at

This policy will be reviewed in line with University policy for the 2021-22 academic year. Please do contact us nearer the time and we would be pleased to provide updated guidance.



Please contact us via email ( with enquiries regarding the collections and staff will be happy to advise further wherever possible. Our staff resource is limited by social distancing requirements, therefore our response time to enquiries is subject to delay and your enquiry may be placed in a pending queue.

The SCA team are doing their best to answer enquiries as quickly as possible, however in the meantime, a member of the team will be in touch to confirm that your enquiry has been logged.



SC&A offers an in-house reprographics service (subject to a fee and available for up to 100 scans). 

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. 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 20 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.