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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:

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

Visits on Mondays may also be possible by prior arrangement.

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, you will need to 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)

  • Your name, postal address, email address and a contact telephone number

We will then confirm your visit with you. All visits will be conducted in line with  King's guidance. Seated study in library spaces without social distancing will mean people will have close contact with those around them.

Face coverings

From 30 November 2021, it is compulsory for everyone to wear a face covering inside our buildings unless you are exempt.

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.

If you are a member of King's teaching staff, we are also happy to discuss developing online 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. For wider resources related to special collections and the history of the book, as well as full text databases of historical texts, we have compiled a portfolio of useful 'Online resources', which is linked to 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