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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.

From early November, the Foyle Special Collections Library will be open by prior arrangement to King’s staff and students, to support priority teaching, study and research needs.
We have limited capacity and it will not be possible to accommodate all requests to visit the Reading Room. Please note: it is essential to only visit by prior arrangement, and we will operate a ‘no booking, no visit’ policy.
Priority will be given to students on courses that involve the use of special collections as part of the curriculum.
Please contact us at if you need to consult material and include the information below:
  • Library catalogue references for the items you would like to view. You may request a maximum of six items at any one time. It will not be possible for us to retrieve any items for you on the day
  • Please state your reasons for wishing to consult this material and whether a digitised version would suffice (if available)
  • If you are a student, please include details of your course or programme of study
  • Please indicate when you would be able to visit if that proves possible. Reading Room visits will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 11.00 and 16.00 (with the Reading Room closed from 13.00 to 14.00), subject to staff and Reading Room desk availability
  • To ensure social distancing, our Reading Room will have a limited capacity and it may not always be possible for us to accommodate your preferred visit date.
  • We require at least three working days’ notice before any potential visit.

Once we have received this information, we will get back to you to confirm arrangements. All visits will be conducted in line with King’s staying safe on campus guidance

Information on all Libraries & Collections sites and current services is available here.

We also encourage you to explore our web pages to learn more about our collections and discover our online exhibitions. Please do also email us at

For wider resources related to special collections and the history of the book, as well as full text databases of historical texts, please see our useful 'Online resources' page, linked to below.

*We are aware that due to a recent migration onto new webpage templates, some of our pages relating to individual collections have misaligned images.

Collection strengths include:
  • Exploration and travel
  • World history
  • Theology
  • Languages and literatures
  • Science
  • Medicine

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