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Planning Your Research Visit

The Manuscripts and Archives Research Library is located in the Old Library - see directions and floorplan. See Opening Hours for admission times.


  • All researchers must have a current reader's ticket and an appointment is advisable
  • Reader's tickets are issued at the Admissions Counter of the Berkeley Library on a researcher's initial visit and are valid for one calendar year from the date of issue. A valid form of photographic identification is required
  • Upon reaching the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library all new readers are required to complete a research application form

Ordering Material

  • There is one collection of manuscripts each day at 11:00, excluding Saturday. For same day consultation, orders must be received before 11:00 on that day. Material for consultation on Saturday must be ordered during the previous week. Material ordered in advance will be made available from 10:00. Readers should ensure that material is identified by the correct reference number
  • Orders can be placed in person, or by e-mail or telephone if identified by the correct reference number. Please note that orders placed by e-mail are not confirmed until replied to by staff
  • If a reader is unable to attend on an appointed day the material will be held over if the reader contacts the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library to make another appointment
  • Collections are made available for research only when they have been fully processed and an appropriate finding aid, usually a descriptive catalogue, is available
  • Access to collections or parts of collections may be withdrawn from time to time as material is removed for conservation or exhibition. Researchers should be aware that some fragile material may only be available to consult on microfilm or in digital format. Some material may not be available to undergraduates. Material with specific physical or supervisory requirements may not be made available on Saturdays. College Archives material of a certain date may not be made available
  • Some printed books must be ordered a day in advance
  • All microfilm copies of manuscripts are held by and are available for consultation in the Multimedia Resource Area in the Ussher Library

Handling Material


  • Pencils, notepaper and laptop computers are allowed in the Reading Room
  • The use of pens of any kind is prohibited
  • Seats in the Reading Room may not be reserved in advance
  • Lockers are provided at reception for the deposit of outerwear, cases and bags. They must be emptied at the end of each day
  • Manuscript material may not be borrowed
  • Wi-Fi in the reading room is only accessible through eduroam for external readers, see IT Services for further information
  • Smoking and the consumption of food and drink of any kind is strictly prohibited
  • Instruction in the correct handling of original documents will be provided by staff during the initial visit
  • See Library Regulations for further general regulations in the Library
  • See Services for further information on self-service photography of manuscripts and archives

Access for Users with Disabilities

Please note that due to the historic nature and age of some College buildings there may be restricted access. Please contact us in advance of your visit so that you can be best accommodated.

Fire Alarms

Upon hearing the fire alarm:

  • Leave the building by the nearest route, following instruction from Library Staff
  • Close all doors behind you
  • Do not stop to collect any belongings
  • Do not return to the building for any reason until authorised to do so
  • Do not use lifts
  • Report to the designated assembly point - Fellows’ Square