Using our collections
Heritage Collections and Culture Services is the department which manages the University’s Special Collections of archives, manuscripts and book collections which are too old, rare or fragile to be kept on the open shelves. We also have responsibility for the Fine Art and Bill Douglas Centre Museum Collections. All of our collections require special management, study facilities, storage and handling to ensure they remain accessible today and in the future. Anyone can use the collections for research, whatever your background but please note the information below and in the FAQs. All readers who wish to consult archives must give at least 24 hours' notice and preferably longer, as some material is restricted and must be checked by the Archivist. If you are not a member of the university, you will also need to complete an External readers registration form. For more information, please see our FAQs
Special Collections Reading Room
Our Reading Room is located in the Research Commons, Old Library, Prince of Wales Road. The Reading Room is a dedicated secure and quiet space for twelve readers, with facilities for group work. Further details can be found on our Reading Room webpages.
We play an active role in the learning, teaching and research profile of Exeter University through the provision of group teaching and research sessions in our dedicated Seminar Room, based on the collections. Please see the Teaching and Learning pages for further details and booking information.
Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Centre play key roles within the Library's outreach strategy as part of the University's cultural engagement with the community. Activities include early years learning groups and film launches hosted by the Bill Douglas Centre, film clubs and expert lectures hosted by the Devon and Exeter Institution, annual art exhibitions, art lectures and children's activities, hosted by the Fine Art Department and poetry events and archive exhibitions, hosted by Special Collections with the Centre for South West Writing. For more information on hosting outreach events please contact the department.
Reprographics and Copyright
Copies of items held in Special Collections can be requested in paper or electronic format and are completed depending on the condition/nature of the item concerned, on current copyright restrictions and the size of the order. For more information please see the Reprographics and Copyright section of the website.
Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Centre offer opportunities for volunteers to gain professional experience working with our unique collections. If you are interested in volunteering please see our Volunteer Opportunities page for further details.