Library Services


Schools and Outreach

Our Education programme is free for schools and community groups in Camden and the four neighbouring boroughs of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Newham).

13 and 14 year olds sit at a table, looking at a medical illustration from the 1830s by Carswell.

We run our schools and community programme on school sites, at community centres and public libraries, on campus and online. Speak to us about an approach that would work for you.

We also run an annual careers focussed project for young adults in East London called The New Curators Project. For more infomation about this and to register your interest, go to our dedicated New Curators page.

Schools – Curriculum Support

We use our unique collection to create meaningful experiences and free resources aimed at enriching pupils’ learning and inspiring teachers. These are usually one-off sessions in person or a series of shorter sessions delivered online. Some examples of our Curriculum Support programme:

  • The Deepest and Darkest of London - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (context for GCSE English Literature)
  • The Battle of the Somme (Key Stage 2 to 5, English and History)
  • Discovering archives (a guide to using archival items in historical enquiry, Key Stage 2 to 5)
  • Persuasive writing through the ages; pamphlets, speeches, letters and more (Key Stage 3 to 5)
  • Culture-quake: The power of the printed word (ideal for English Language A2, AQA B, language change)
  • Protest in Print (hand on session exploring small press and self-publications, Key Stage 3 to 5 Art and English)
  • Creating a class archive; learning to explore your sense of self and your community (Key Stage 2 to 3)
  • *New* From the Medieval to the Modern – Medical history in print (Key Stage 4)
  • *New* London in the 19th century – living conditions, crime and punishment (Key Stage 3 and 4)

All sessions are delivered by a qualified and DBS checked teacher and are planned to suit the class and pupils with the teacher’s input. 

Schools - After School Clubs

Our after school clubs last for a half term (6 weeks) and each session usually runs for between 60 and 90 minutes (depending on schools’ usual after-school provision). We have run these completely online and on school sites and we are happy to discuss blended versions. Choose from three subject areas, or suggest something new to us!

  • The Power of Print: Use arts and craft skills to explore the history of printing, from medieval manuscripts, wood blocks, moveable type to 20th century self-publishing.
  • Illustrate! Try your hand at different drawing techniques while exploring our collection’s incredible illustrations, from the medical, to landscape drawings, architectural designs and natural history…
  • So You Think You’re An Historian? Learn how to interpret primary resources and explore London’s history through our collection. Become an expert on a collection item through research and present your findings.

All sessions are delivered by a qualified and DBS checked teacher and are planned to suit the class and pupils with the teacher’s input. 

Schools - Teacher CPD

Speak to us about how we can help to further you and your colleagues’ professional development: whether you would like to arrange a visit to UCL Special Collections, a subject specific workshop or a simple ‘inspiration day’ that uses a range of archival items, rare books and manuscripts, we want to hear from you. We can also deliver teacher CPD online.

Schools - Free Online Resources

Access free digital resources that explore the UNESCO listed George Orwell Archive; Orwell in the Archive.


We are passionate about sharing our collections and want to offer activities and projects for our local communities that suit people’s interests and needs. If you would like to arrange a workshop or a project with us please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Some examples of our work with community groups:

  • Adult art therapy; colouring in our medieval manuscripts (tackling social isolation and encouraging mindfulness with an adult learner group in Camden)
  • Newham Heritage Week; touring exhibitions, family and adult learner events and oral history collection in Newham’s public libraries (see the animation below).

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Summer Schools

We run a range of summer schools, from collaborations for 12 to 16 year olds with the other East Bank partners at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Year 12 Widening Participation summer schools. We are always interested in collaborating with community partners to develop activities and projects for holiday programming. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss an idea.

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UCL Special Collections run work experience programmes for schools in our target boroughs (Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham) and volunteer projects across the academic year.

We also run The New Curators Project, and annual programme that offers young adults in East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector.  We deliver this in collaboration with Newham Heritage Month and it includes training sessions from guest speakers across the sector, individual mentoring and support and the opportunity for the group to produce something for a real life heritage audience as part of the Newham Heritage Month programme. To find out more, go to our New Curators Project page.