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Special Collections



The Foyle Special Collections Library holds over 200,000 items – printed books, pamphlets and periodicals, as well as maps, slides, manuscripts, typescripts and photographs – ranging in date from the 15th century to the present day.

Many items are extremely rare; some are unique. All offer a wealth of opportunities for teaching and research, and together they form part of our local, national and international documentary heritage.

The Foyle Special Collections Library is open to King's staff and students and to external readers.

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday, 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-17.00.

Opening hours: Monday 5 August - Sunday 18 August 2024

Please note that during the period of the Maughan Library closure (Saturday 3 August - Sunday 18 August 2024) our normal opening hours will be retained, but you will need to book an appointment to visit the Foyle Special Collections Library. Please see opening hours above and contact details below. Please email us to book your visit and we will get back to you to confirm.

Essential information

If you are a current King’s College London student or member of staff there is no need for you to pre-book your visit, though you are welcome to do so if you wish. Please do get in touch with us with any enquiries you may have about our collections and how to use them.

If you are an external visitor, we recommend you book your visit in advance. To arrange your visit please contact us at  at least one working day in advance of your preferred visit date and include the following information:

  • Library catalogue references for the items you would like to view. You may request a maximum of six items at any one time.
  • The preferred day of your visit, and whether you would like to visit in the morning (10.00-13.00), afternoon or both (14.00-17.00). We will then confirm your visit with you.

All visitors must present a photographic form of identification, e.g. university identification card, passport, driving licence, or a letter of introduction.

Further information

Please note: the entrance to Special Collections is immediately on your right as you enter the main Maughan Library gates. Please ring the buzzer and Security will bring you through to a member of Library staff. Please bring your own laptop as there are no PCs available for use in the Reading Room.

Digitised versions of many of the items held in the Foyle Special Collections Library are available. Please see more information as to where these can be found in our Online resources  portal below. This section also includes wider resources related to special collections and the history of the book, as well as full text databases of historical texts and  useful resources such as podcasts, videos and blogs.


If you are a member of King's teaching staff, we are happy to discuss developing special collections seminars for you and your students. We encourage you to explore our collections via our webpages,  online exhibitions and the  Digital Scholarship webpage.

Associated resources

We have created a KLASS module for King's students, entitled Using Special Collections in Your Studies. This is a useful module to complete, for those students interested in finding out about how to access and use items from Special Collections in their studies.

We have also created an introductory video entitled 'Getting started with Special Collections', which is available to view below.


Information on all Libraries & Collections services is available here.

Find out more about using Special Collections                                                                       



Collection Highlights

Marsden Collection

Marsden Collection

The Marsden Collection comprises books from the library of William Marsden (1754-1836), orientalist…


HG Adler Collection

HG Adler Collection

The HG Adler Collection was the personal reference library of the novelist, poet and Holocaust…



 Using the Special Collections