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Ronald Duncan Reading Room

Using our collections

Access to consult Special Collections onsite during lockdown from 5th January 2021:

Our reading room will be open during the lockdown period for essential research in line with Department for Education guidelinesPlease see our LibGuide for information on making a booking.

Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, reading room appointments are limited.  If you are an external academic researcher or professional, please contact us well in advance of your proposed visit to check availability.

All readers MUST follow our COVID-secure procedures at all times. It is strongly recommended that readers are tested before coming to campus. Tests for Exeter students and staff can be booked via the following link: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus/students/testing/ 

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Reopening Special Collections following the Covid-19 closure period

Special Collections has now reopened to researchers. Please see our LibGuide for further details on visiting the Reading Room and using our new booking form to reserve a desk.

We have worked closely with the Health and Safety team to develop new protocols for reopening the Reading Room safely. As part of these measures, to ensure safe working practices for our staff and safe operating procedures for visitors, we are opening the following reduced hours by advance booking:

Mondays to Fridays 10am-12:30pm or 1:30pm-4:30pm

Our opening is subject to change depending on government safety advice and the changing health and environmental conditions.

If you have any questions please contact us via email.

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The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is located in the Old Library. Items ordered from Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum are consulted in the Reading Room. The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is open by advance appointment only from 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday. Please contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you wish to visit. 

Readers wishing to access material need to be aware of the following:

  • Please contact us in advance if you wish to use material from our collections.
  • Members of the University of Exeter should bring their University Library card.
  • External users will be asked to register by completing the External reader registration form , and bring photo ID, such as a driving licence or passport.
  • You may use paper and pencil or your own laptop or tablet for taking notes. Pens are not allowed in the reading room.

Reopening Special Collections following the Covid-19 closure period

Special Collections has now reopened to researchers. Please see our LibGuide for further details on visiting the Reading Room and using our new booking form to reserve a desk.We have worked closely with the Health and Safety team to develop new protocols for reopening the Reading Room safely. As part of these measures, to ensure safe working practices for our staff and safe operating procedures for visitors, we are opening the following reduced hours by advance booking:  Mondays to Fridays 10am-12:30pm or 1:30pm-4:30pm  Our opening is subject to change depending on government safety advice and the changing health and environmental conditions. If you have any questions please email libspc@exeter.ac.uk

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During university vacation periods the Reading Room is only open by advance appointment. Please email any requests at least 24 hours in advance to book

The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is open during term time Monday – Friday, 10:00 - 1700

Please book items in advance by email to libspc@exeter.ac.uk or bdc@exeter.ac.uk.

Special Collections is closed during bank holidays and University closure periods (Christmas and New Year). Please enquire in advance for precise closure dates if you plan to visit during these times of year.

‌We welcome research enquiries and visits to Special Collections. To arrange a visit please read the information below and get in touch if you need any help or advice:

  • Please contact us in advance of your visit so we can ensure the material you need is available.
  • If you are currently a student or member of staff at Exeter you will need to bring your student card with you.
  • If you are not a member of the University you will be asked to register by completing the External reader registration form‌; please bring photo ID such as a driving licence, or passport.
  • You may use paper and pencil or your own laptop or tablet for taking notes. Pens are not allowed in the reading room.
  • Food and drink including bottled water is not allowed in the reading room.
  • There are lockers available for personal belongings while you are using the reading room.All material held at Special Collections is for reference use only.
  • Photocopies, photographs and scans can be ordered at the discretion of staff. Conservation and copyright considerations will be taken into account.
  • Signing the Reading Room diary signifies full compliance with the Reading Room Regulations and Handling Guidelines.

Please request items in advance of your visit to Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum 

Books and Journals

Requests for books and Journals can be emailed in advance to libspc@exeter.ac.uk, or in person at the Reading Room during opening hours. If the items you are requesting are from the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum please email bdc@exeter.ac.uk. For rare and fragile material the Reading Room supervisor will advise on handling and care.

‌Archives, Manuscripts and Artefacts

Please provide as much advance notice of your intended visit as possible, at least 24 hours, with full details of your research needs and the items you wish to consult. You can check our archives catalogue and book catalogue for information on what we hold. All archives, manuscripts and artefacts have a unique reference number to identify them which you will need to quote. Data Protection restrictions and Freedom of Information exemptions also apply to some archive collections, meaning that access must be arranged well in advance of your visit.

‌Handling Archive and Rare Books

We ask that all our users follow the basic handling guidelines outlined in the film below, made by our colleagues at Penryn, when using our Collections:

The Ronald Duncan Reading Room is located in the Old Library. There is a campus map available, the Old Library is building no. 7.

Directions to the University of Exeter by road and rail and a map of the Streatham Campus are available on the How to find us pages of the university website.

For information on parking please go to our website here.