University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections

Research and enquiries

What to expect

Images of our collections

The Napier Reading Room is located in the Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk, on North Street.

Our reading room has space for 12 readers and booking an appointment is required. We try to ensure we are able to provide material quickly for visitors.  However, as some of our material is held offsite, it may be necessary to give at least 48 hours' notice before expecting to consult material. We will advise you of any delays when you book your appointment and tell us what you would like to see.

Facilities include access to our electronic catalogue, power points for personal computers, a microfilm and microfiche reader and printer, scanning and photographic services.

There are toilets and locker facilities on site, and the Union Café and Main Library all provide nearby refreshment facilities.

We aim to provide an efficient and helpful service. If you have any queries our Reading Room staff are on hand to help you navigate the catalogues, handle the material, or attend to any other issue you may encounter.

Reading room rules

  • Only readers registered with Special Collections may use the Reading Room. Discover how you can join Special Collections.
  • No pens may be used in the Reading Room. Everyone must use a pencil when making notes to prevent ink from damaging the rare books and manuscripts.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Avoid using hand creams before handling books and documents. Dry hands thoroughly after washing and remove any nail polish.
  • Bags cannot be taken into the Reading Room; lockers are provided in the main corridor.
  • Mobile phones must be switched to silent.
  • Please show consideration towards other readers and keep noise to a minimum. If you need to consult with another reader, please do so outside the reading room.
  • Instructions by staff on the handling and use of collection items must be observed at all times.

Special Collections for Groups

Learn about how we share our treasured collections with specialist groups and schools and how we use materials for teaching within the University.

Research enquiry?

If you need assistance with research, have a query about our collections, or would like to know about researching your family history please ask for our help.

Do you need reproductions?

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