Library Services


UCL Special Collections awarded Archive Service Accreditation status

3 August 2021

Since its creation following the merger of IOE and UCL in 2014 and a restructure of UCL Library Services in 2016, Special Collections has gone from strength to strength, as evidenced by this award, which recognises excellent performance in all areas of archive service delivery.

Items from UCL Special Collections

UCL Special Collections is a key part of Library Services. The team collect rare and unique materials, preserve and conserve them, engage internal and external audiences, and provide access to the materials through academic liaison, three reading rooms and an enquiry service. The collection includes fine examples of medieval manuscripts, early printed books, significant holdings of 18th century works and highly important 19th and 20th century collections of archival material, literature and related archive collections, such as the UNESCO registered Orwell archive.

Achieving accredited status demonstrates that UCL Special Collections has met clearly defined national standards relating to the management and resourcing of the care of its unique collections and the service it offers to its users, showing resilience and the ability to manage changing circumstances successfully.

Receiving this award during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has presented exceptional challenges to archive services across the UK, has shown outstanding teamwork and adaptability.

The accreditation process required UCL Special Collections to undertake a detailed application providing supporting evidence and statistics in three areas:

  • Organisational Health.
  • Collections.
  • Stakeholders and their Experience.

This was supplemented by online interviews with the team and a site visit by assessors.

The accreditation panel that made the award noted:

UCL Special Collections has become an integral part of its parent organisation, delivering on teaching, research, institutional memory and profile, and UCL’s relationships with its communities and with London… The team is committed and ambitious, looking for ways to deliver more and better, and to use their skills and expertise across the service’s collections and audiences. This is shown in the work bringing together a stronger service in recent years and the impressive response to the pandemic.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives; and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

Find out more

Please go to the UCL Special Collections webpages for more information and links to the online catalogues and digital image gallery.