Manuscripts Reading Roooms

March 14, 2017, by Katherine Beers

5 reasons to visit the Manuscripts and Special Collections reading rooms

The Manuscripts and Special collections reading rooms at King’s Meadow Campus are the hidden gem among the University of Nottingham libraries. Just a short hopper bus ride away from University Park and Jubilee Campus, they are a haven of quiet and scholarly study. Last summer they were completely refurbished to celebrate their 10 year anniversary of being at KMC and are now light, bright and inspiring!

Although there are many reasons to visit, here are our top 5:

  1. The wonderful knowledgeable staff, on hand to guide you through the extensive collections (we have around 3.5 million items in our archives). Offering advice on the handling of original manuscripts and sharing their insight into the archives that you are seeing first hand.
  2. Our East Midlands Collection (EMC), a collection of  regional literature  containing over 8,000 books, 9,000 pamphlets  and 900 periodical titles from the historic counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. Most of the EMC is available to borrow from the reading room open shelves, or can be requested on NUsearch  delivered to your home library.
  3.  Access to the original, unique and quite often old Manuscripts archival collections brought to you to read and study in the reading rooms. The manuscript and archive holdings include:
    • the papers of leading Nottinghamshire families and their estates
    • the records of local businesses and organisations, including those the Archdeaconry of Nottinghamshire
    • the papers of political, diplomatic, literary, scientific and academic figures, including D.H. Lawrence
    • some of the historical records of the University and its predecessor, University College Nottingham

The named special collections of published works include:

      • collections relating to 18th to 19th century drama
      • children’s educational literature
      • the history of medicine
      • Icelandic literature
      • the French Revolution
      • rare books and pre-1850 stock transferred from general library holdings

Many subject areas, such as the study of the life and works of D.H. Lawrence, feature in both the manuscript and printed book collections. You can find out a bit more detail here.

  1. Access to the Central Store collections, these are the collections which are in a closed access store and were originally in our libraries. You can request via NUsearch and once again they can be sent to your home library, or used in the reading rooms. If they are restricted items then you may only use them in the reading rooms.
  2. Accreditation. Manuscripts and Special Collections are now officially accredited! You can read all about it on the MSC blog.

What else do you need to know?

  • Members of the University and external visitors are very welcome.
  • If you would like to consult manuscripts and special collections it’s best to make an appointment so that the material can be made ready for your visit.
  • You will need to register on your first visit.
  • Shhhh! It is very quiet, almost silent in fact!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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