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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 only. If you are not a member of King’s College London we regret that we are not currently able to arrange a visit for you, but please do not hesitate to contact us with your enquiry; we provide a full remote enquiry service and will do our best to help you.

Opening hours:

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00. Visits at other times may be possible by prior arrangement.


Essential information

All visits must be booked in advance. Owing to social distancing requirements, we have reduced reader capacity in the Reading Room and are currently operating a ‘no booking, no visit’ policy

To arrange a visit please contact us at at least two working days 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. It will not be possible for us to retrieve any items for you on the day

  • The preferred day of your visit, and whether you would like to visit in the morning (10.00-13.00), afternoon or both (14.00-16.00)

  • Your name, postal address, email address, King’s ID number and a contact telephone number

We will then confirm your visit with you. All visits will be conducted in line with King’s Staying safe on campus guidance.

Please bring your own laptop, notebook pencils and pencil sharpener with you when you come.

Digitised versions of many of the items held in the Foyle Special Collections Library are available. If we identify a digitised version of the item(s) you wish to consult, we may suggest that you consult this digital resource first and only arrange a visit if you have a specific reason to see the physical item.

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 sites and current services is available here.

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