University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections

Rare Books

Named collections

Our Rare Books Collection is, like many other institutional collections, actually a collection of many smaller collections. Gifts of entire libraries, bequests of several books and subject-based, named collections all make up what goes onto our shelves. Our collection is now comprised of over 50 named collections which range from the personal libraries of former principals to subject-based collections focussing on children’s and photographically illustrated books.


Find out how you can get copies of books, manuscripts or photographs held within Special Collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its rare book collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting collection projects the Rare Books team is currently working on, and those that have recently been completed.