Heritage Collections manages collections of archives, manuscripts and book collections which are too rare, old or fragile to be kept on the open shelves of the library. Search our archive and book catalogues here.

Material in our collections is available for students, staff and external researchers to access. Items from our collections are available to use in our reading room. The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is open by prior appointment only to consult pre-reserved materials between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can contact us to reserve items by email at libspc@exeter.ac.uk. From Monday 3rd April to Friday 28th April, the reading room will be open by prior appointment only Monday to Friday 10am -5pm. We will be closed on Good Friday 14th April, Easter Monday 17th April and 1st May, Bank Holiday Monday. 

Visit us on

Our Reading Room is located in the Old Library. Items ordered from Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum are consulted in the Reading Room. Further information on planning your visit is available on our Reading Room pages.



Our archives and manuscript pages contain information on collection highlights, subjects covered, and finding aids to help you search for the material you need including our online archive catalogue. You can also search external research resources.


Our rare book and map collections are of regional and national significance, featuring several Devon parish libraries, the Hypatia collection of women's history, the Syon Abbey Library, and John Betjeman's working library. Several smaller book collections, like the A.L.Rowse, Henry Williamson, and Jack Clemo collections, support the archival papers held at Exeter. Our book collections are listed on the library catalogue.

Our archive, rare book and manuscript resources cover all subject areas with major highlights in twentieth century South West Writing, Literature and Visual Culture, Victorian Culture and Imperial Endeavour, Arab and Islamic Studies, and Religious and Parish book collections.

You can find out more about the treasures we hold on our Collection Highlights page.