March 29, 2021, by Kathryn Steenson

Welcome Back Part 2: The Re-Re-Opening

For the last few months, only University of Nottingham staff/students have been able to visit the Reading Room, but as of the 13th April, we plan to reopen to the public, in line with Government advice. If you haven’t visited before or it’s been a while, here’s what to expect:

Booking a Sit-and-Study space in the Reading Room

If you want to see any of the rare books and archives or the microfilm reader, you must book an appointment at least two working days in advance. You can search for material in advance from our manuscript and library catalogues. Tell us which document references or books you want to see (and what you’d like to see first) and they will be ready for you when you arrive.

Two people at separate tables looking at archives, supervised by a staff member sitting behind a screen.

Masks, screens and social distancing: our Sit and Study spaces in the Reading Room

We have limited numbers of seats in the Reading Room and fewer staff in each day due to social distancing requirements. Giving us notice allows us time to confirm we have space available for you. Please don’t turn up without an appointment as we aren’t able to accept walk-ins. All visitors will have an allocated seat reserved for them, and bookings are restricted to a maximum of two people per group, to ensure that everyone who wants to come in has a fair chance. If you decide to cancel or change the date of your visit, please email us as we may be able to give your place to someone else. We are quarantining material between visitors, and we will do our best to tell you if something you’ve requested is unavailable.

Poster of temporary opening times on the Reading Room door

Reading Room opening hours

Visitors will be allocated a table when they book an appointment











The Reading Room is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.00pm, with an hour for lunch. You can book for a half-day, a full-day, or multiple days. There are no limits on how many days you can book or how much material you request, but if you do want to see a large quantity of material, please indicate what you would like to see first. Don’t worry if you miss something or get through it faster than expected: you can order more on the day you visit. Any requests made before midday will be brought to the Reading Room during the lunch period and will be available from 1.30pm. We can only bring out more material over the lunch period, so please double-check the reference numbers before you order.

Email us to book:

Click and Collect

If all you want to do is return a book, or pick up a book you’ve reserved from the Click and Collect service, then you’re welcome to pop in at any time during our opening hours, there’s no need to make an appointment.

Returned books should be put in the labelled box. Items for collection are on the Click and Collect shelves near the door. These haven’t been automatically loaned to your account, so please take them to the desk and we will issue them to you contactlessly.

Not all of our books are loanable, so if you’re not sure, email us and we’ll be happy to help.

The hand sanitiser station is next to the Click and Collect shelves, just inside the Reading Room entrance.

The old display case now showcases the Book Returns box. Just drop them in and go!












On the Day

It goes without saying that you should not come to the Reading Room if you have symptoms of coronavirus or you have been advised to self-isolate within the last two weeks.

Kings Meadow Campus is also host to a regional NHS coronavirus vaccination centre. This is not a drop-in centre and only people who have been invited to make an appointment by their GPs will be vaccinated. The centre is operated independently and is separate from the University of Nottingham.  Parking for the Reading Room will be at the side of the building – the security and marshalling staff at the Gatehouse will be able to direct you. Please follow the one-way system in place inside and outside the building. For access to the Reading Room, please ignore all of the vaccination centre signage and use the Main Entrance at the front of the building. If you arrive and the front door is swipe card access only, phone the Reading Room on 0115 951 4565 and a member of staff will come and let you in.

There is a lot of signage directing people away from the main entrance, but don’t be deterred if you’re coming to the Reading Room.

Main KMC Reception – keep left!









If this is your first visit to Manuscripts & Special Collections, or your reader ticket is more than three years old, please bring some I.D. which shows your name and address (or your University of Nottingham library card, if you have one) and complete the short registration form and email it back to us. We will then issue you with a reader’s ticket that must be produced on each subsequent visit.

Visitors must wear a face covering of some kind when inside the building, (unless exempt) and keep it on for the duration of your visit. Please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser provided before entering the Reading Room. If you’re using archive or special collections material, then make sure your hands are dry before handling the documents.

The East Midlands Collection is available to browse on the shelves in the Reading Room. Please use the hand sanitiser before going into the stacks, and only one person can be in the aisle at a time. All of the D H Lawrence reference books have been removed, but this is nothing to do with coronavirus: they’re being used staff working on a DHL project!

For some collections you may be able to purchase a permit to take photos with your own camera, and for others  we offer a copying service, depending on the size and condition of the material in question. Due to the restricted number of staff allowed in the department (our offices aren’t as spacious as the Reading Room!) we might not be able to provide a same-day copying service. We can take payment by bank transfer or contactless card.

Other Important Info

Toilets in the building are open but the onsite café is closed, and there are limited refreshment facilities on campus. There is a water cooler and vending machines selling crisps, chocolate and drinks. We strongly recommend that you bring food or drink, as the nearest shops are a 15 minute walk away from campus.

We will reserve a locker for you, for your bags, coats, refreshments and personal bottles of hand gel, as these cannot be taken into the reading room. Please bring a £1 coin which will be returned after use.

You can bring your own laptop, and in fact we encourage it. Free WiFi is available in the reading room. Visitors from outside the University of Nottingham can register in advance for a guest account or register on the day. The accounts are valid for 7 days. To register for a WiFi account, please go to

Any Questions?

More details about the collections and visiting information is on the website. Email us if you want to make an appointment, order some copies of documents, or have any questions about visiting.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Posted in Announcements