Library Services


Guidelines for using a UCL Special Collections Reading Room

Researchers in the Library's Special Collections are required to abide by the following guidelines and rules. They must sign the Undertaking which follows as a condition of access.

An open book sits on a specially made book pillow, its pages weighed down with page weights.

Guidelines and Rules

  1. The reading room is for archives, records and rare books only and is not a general library reading room.
  2. All readers are required to provide proof of identity when first registering to use UCL Special Collections. UK visitors should bring photographic ID and proof of address. Visitors from overseas will need to bring a valid passport.
  3. Requests for archives, records and rare materials must be supplied in advance of the appointment.
  4. Readers are responsible for all materials that they are consulting. Materials must be handled with the utmost care and kept in their correct order. On no account may they be removed from the reading room.
  5. Eating, drinking, and smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not allowed in the reading room.
  6. Notes may be taken in pencil only. Never mark the materials in any way.
  7. Avoid resting anything such as notes and laptops on the material. Appropriate supports and weights will be provided by the invigilator.
  8. Photography is only allowed at the discretion of the invigilator and the ‘Copies for Research Purposes’ form must be completed and signed. Flash photography is not allowed. For more information please read our guidance on photography and publication.
  9. UCL Library Services cannot accept any responsibility for personal belongings left in the storage lockers or in the reading room.
  10. There is no requirement for readers to inform us before publishing a quotation, or information, derived from our collections. 
  11. It is the responsibility of the reader to obtain permission to publish from the copyright holder prior to publication of any material held in our collections. A credit to UCL Library, Special Collections, with a full reference should be included.

  12. UCL Special Collections reserves the right to refuse access to certain classes of materials including intrinsically fragile items and items undergoing conservation treatment or in an exhibition.

  13. Any archives containing personal data about living individuals fall within the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). A separate guidance sheet is available. In signing this form the reader accepts that it is their responsibility to ensure that any data relating to living individuals used in the course of their research is not used in such a way that substantial damage or distress is likely to be caused to the subject of that data, and is not used to support measures or decisions with respect to specific individuals.

  14. In order to meet UCL Library Services’ obligations under data protection legislation, any records containing Special Category Data (as defined by the GDPR) relating to living individuals may not be copied either by or for researchers. This includes digital photography.

Using the South Junction Reading Room (in addition to the rules above)

  1. Bags, coats and other personal belongings must be left in the lockers or coat rack provided. UCL Library Services cannot accept responsibility for personal belongings left in the lockers, coat rack or in the reading room.
  2. The premises are monitored by CCTV at all times.
  3. Mobile phones should be switched to silent and phone calls should be taken outside.

The Library reserves the right to refuse access.