Library Services


Rare Books and Printed Material

UCL Special Collections is home to over 100,000 rare books, pamphlets and periodicals, dating from the fifteenth century to the present day.

A display of rare and historical books on a shelf, including Christian and Jewish texts with gold leaf on their covers, a book with a tortoiseshell cover, and a book attached to a chain.

Rare Books highlights include:

For a full list, visit the A-Z collection descriptions and see also the A-Z of IOE Rare Books Collection.


The rare book collections can be searched on UCL Explore. This video demonstrates how to browse rare books and printed material from our website, use Explore to find specific items, and make a viewing appointment with our Enquires Team.

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/C673d35B

Not all of the collections are fully catalogued online. See the collection descriptions in the A-Z list for current information on the cataloguing status and the availability of handlists. Please contact us for further advice if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

The rare books are stored at UCL’s Bloomsbury campus and at The National Archive in Kew. Material can be viewed either at the Special Collections Reading Room in the South Junction of the Wilkins Building or in a dedicated reading room at The National Archives, depending where the collection is stored. Contact us for further details.

Go to UCL Explore