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About Us

Special Collections and Archives reading room

Special Collections and Archives reading room

Contact Us

General enquiries


Special Collections and Archives is located in the Arts and Social Studies Library

Special Collections and Archives is located in the Arts and Social Studies Library


We are based on the lower ground floor of the Arts and Social Studies Library, at location 18 on the Cardiff University map.

The Arts and Social Studies Library is situated at the junction of Corbett Road, Park Place and Colum Road, and is easily accessible by public transport. Buses 36, 51, 86 and 95 stop on Park Place. Cathays train station is a five minute walk away, with frequent connections to Cardiff Central.

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.  

We are currently unable to provide microfilm assistance, or retrieve books between 12-2pm. Please email your request for books in advance to if you plan to visit during these hours.


Planning your visit

Before you visit

Use our library catalogue and archives catalogue to find items which may be useful. If you see something you want to look at, note its classmark/reference number, title and date. 

If you would like to use an archival collection, please make an appointment in advance by emailing The archives catalogue will indicate whether or not a collection is catalogued. Uncatalogued archives, which may potentially be affected by the Data Protection Act or other access restrictions, must be carefully screened by professional archives staff before access is permitted, and time must be allowed for this work to take place.

On the day

Special Collections and Archives is open to all, with proof of identity (University members: ID card, external visitors: ID with a current address and photo). Coats and bags must be stored in a locker in the foyer. Lockers are operated using a refundable £1 coin. 

No pens, food or drink are permitted in the Reading Room, to avoid permanent damage to collections. Pencils and sharpeners are available if required. There are a limited number of plug sockets, and we recommend all electronic devices are fully charged. 

Collections are available for reference use in the Reading Room only, and may not be removed from this area. The number of items produced for consultation at any one time may be restricted at the discretion of the staff member on duty. 

At all times, please exercise extreme care in handling the historic materials issued to you, for which you are responsible until they are returned to staff. With clean hands, handle documents as little as possible, avoiding the text. Never force open a binding: book wedges and weights can be provided to hold books open at a safe angle. When using archives, take care to preserve the sequence of loose papers in a bundle or file, and do not remove any labels.

Reading room photography for later personal use is permitted on completion of a copyright declaration form. 



Onsite facilities

  • Physical access to all collections is provided in a comfortable, quiet study environment.
  • Printed collections can be searched using LibrarySearch, via dedicated catalogue terminals. Archives can be searched using ArchiveSearch.
  • Digital microfilm scanners allow pdf copies to be created from our microfilm collections, at no charge. Documents can be saved to a memory stick, saving both money and paper by eliminating the need for printing. A printing service is available if preferred (charges apply: see Ordering digital copies below for details).
  • Dedicated exhibitions, which showcase themes and strengths within the collections, are free and open to the public.
  • Research charts mapping the cross-disciplinary research potential of our library and archive collections.
  • Wifi access via Eduroam (available to visitors from other institutions who are already registered to use Eduroam).
  • A self-service photocopying and digital scanning service is available, at the discretion of staff, who will take into account the condition of the original.
  • Seminar and meeting room provision for up to 25, with audio-visual display facilities. Use of these facilities is restricted to Cardiff University members.
  • Coffee and snack machines are available onsite, with cafes and shops a short walk from the library
  • Viewing/listening facilities for video/sound recordings
  • Dedicated space for consulting maps/outsize documents
  • Information and advice from professionally trained library and archive staff
  • Printed catalogues and guides


  • An accessible entrance for assisted entry to the building is located on the west side of the building at lower ground floor level. Entry is staff-mediated; please use the intercom by the entrance.
  • A lift provides access to all floors of the library
  • Disabled parking spaces are available close to the Arts and Social Studies Library (by the railway line) which can be accessed from Colum Drive
  • An accessible toilet is provided on the entrance floor
  • Low-level catalogue terminals are available
  • Staff will retrieve books from the shelves, please ask for assistance


An enquiry service is available, to help save time in searching for information within both Special Collections and Archives and wider library and archive information sources. Qualified library and archival staff are able to assist with readers' enquiries, in person, by phone, post, or email. Charges may apply for extensive research requests: details on application.


Ordering digital copies

Digital copies of our collections can be requested using our order form. Forms must be completed and returned, along with the relevant copyright declaration:


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